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Title: The American Indians

Author: Henry Rowe Schoolcraft

Release date: May 4, 2012 [eBook #39607]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Julia Miller, Gary Rees and the Online
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title page

_Sarony & Major Lith._ _117 Fulton St. New York._  KING HENDRICK Sarony & Major Lith. 117 Fulton St. New York.












Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1851,
by GEO. H. DERBY & CO.,

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the
Northern District of New York.


[Pg 5]


It is now twenty-six years since I first entered the area of the Mississippi valley, with the view of exploring its then but imperfectly known features, geographical and geological. Twenty-two years of this period have elapsed since I entered on the duties of an Executive Agent for the United States Government in its higher northern latitudes among the Indian tribes in the west. Having devoted so large a portion of my life in an active sphere, in which the intervals of travel left me favourable opportunities of pursuing the languages and history of this branch of the race, it appears to be a just expectation, that, in sitting down to give some account of this people, there should be some preliminary remarks, to apprise the reader how and why it is, that his attention is recalled to a topic which he may have supposed to be well nigh exhausted. This it is proposed to do by some brief personal reminiscences, beginning at the time above alluded to.

The year 1814 constituted a crisis, not only in our political history, but also in our commercial, manufacturing, and industrial interests. The treaty of Ghent, which put a period to the war with England, was a blessing to many individuals and classes in America: but, in its consequences, it had no small share of the effects of a curse upon that class of citizens who were engaged in certain branches of manufactures. It was a peculiarity of the crisis, that these persons had been stimulated by double motives, to invest their capital and skill in the perfecting and establishment of the manufactories referred to, by the actual wants of the country and the high prices of the foreign articles. No pains and no cost had been spared, by many of them, to supply this demand; and it was another result of the times, that no sooner had they got well established, and were in the high road of prosperity than the peace came and plunged them headlong from the pinnacle of success. This blow fell heavier upon some branches than others. It was most fatal to those manufacturers who had undertaken to produce fabrics of the highest order, or which belong to an advanced state of the manufacturing prosperity of a nation. Be this as it may, however, it fell with crushing force upon that branch in which I was engaged. As soon as the American ports were opened to these fabrics, the foreign makers who could undersell us, poured in cargo on cargo; and when the first demands had been met, these cargoes were ordered to be sold at auction; the prices immediately fell to the lowest point, and the men who had staked in one enterprise their zeal, skill and money, were ruined at a blow.

Every man in such a crisis, must mentally recoil upon himself. Habits[Pg 6] of application, reading, and an early desire to be useful, had sustained me at a prior period of life, through the dangers and fascinations of jovial company. There was in this habit or temper of room-seclusion, a pleasing resource of a conservative character, which had filled up the intervals of my busiest hours; and when business itself came to a stand, it had the effect to aid me in balancing and poising my mind, while I prepared to enter a wider field, and indeed, to change my whole plan of life. If it did not foster a spirit of right thought and self-dependence, it, at least, gave a degree of tranquillity to the intervals of a marked pause, and, perhaps, flattered the ability to act.

Luckily I was still young, and with good animal spirits, and a sound constitution I resolved I would not go down so. The result of seven years of strenuous exertions, applied with persevering diligence and success, was cast to the winds, but it was seven years of a young man's life, and I thought it could be repaired by time and industry. What the east withheld, I hoped might be supplied by another quarter. I turned my thoughts to the west, and diligently read all I could find on the subject. The result of the war of 1812, (if this contest had brought no golden showers on American manufacturers, as I could honestly testify in my own case,) had opened to emigration and enterprise the great area west of the Alleghanies. The armies sent out to battle with Indian, and other foes, on the banks of the Wabash, the Illinois, the Detroit, the Raisin and the Miami of the Lakes, had opened to observation attractive scenes for settlement; and the sword was no sooner cast aside, than emigrants seized hold of the axe and the plough. This result was worth the cost of the whole contest, honour and glory included. The total prostration of the moneyed system of the country, the effects of city-lot and other land speculations, while the system was at its full flow, and the very backward seasons of 1816 and 1817, attended with late and early frosts, which extensively destroyed the corn crop in the Atlantic states, all lent their aid in turning attention towards the west and south-west, where seven new states have been peopled and organized, within the brief period to which these reminiscences apply: namely, Indiana, Illinois, Mississippi, Missouri, Alabama, Arkansas and Michigan, besides the flourishing territories of Wisconsin and Iowa, and the more slowly advancing territory of Florida. It appeared to me, that information, geographical and other, of such a wide and varied region, whose boundaries were but ill defined, must be interesting at such a period; and I was not without the hope that the means of my future advancement would be found in connexion with the share I might take in the exploration of it. With such views I resolved to go west. This feeling I find to be expressed on the back of an old slip of an account of the period:

"I will go by western fountain,
I will wander far and wide;
[Pg 7] Till some sunny spot invite me, Till some guardian bid me bide.
"Snow or tempest—plain the drearest
Shall oppose a feeble bar,
Since I go from friends the dearest,
'Tis no matter then how far.
"On!—'tis useless here to dally;
On!—I can but make or mar;
Since my fortune leads to sally,
'Tis no matter then how far."

Of the "seven years" to which allusion has been made I had spent four in New England a land, which is endeared to me at this distance of time, by recollections of hospitality, virtue, and manly intelligence.

While engaged in the direction of the business above named, I had prepared the notes and materials for my first publication, in which I aimed to demonstrate the importance of an acquaintance with Chemistry and Mineralogy in the preparation and fusion of numerous substances in the mineral kingdom, which result in the different conditions of the various glasses, enamels, &c. I had, from early youth, cultivated a taste for mineralogy, long indeed it may be said, before I knew that mineralogy was a science; and, as opportunities increased, had been led by my inquiries, (which I followed with ardour but with very slight helps,) to add to this some knowledge of elementary chemistry and experimental philosophy, and to supply myself, from Boston and New York, with books, apparatus, and tests. I do not know that there were any public lectures on mineralogy, &c. at this time, say from 1810 to '16; certainly, there were none within my reach. I gleaned from the best sources I could, and believe that the late Professor Frederick Hall was the only person to whom I was indebted even for occasional instructions in these departments. He was a man strongly devoted to some of the natural sciences, particularly mineralogy; and was erudite in the old authors on the subject, whom he liked to quote; and I may say that I continued to enjoy his confidence and friendship to the time of his death, which happened in 1843. From such sources, from the diligent reading of books, and from experiments, conducted with the advantage of having under my charge extensive works, at various times, in the states of New York, Vermont and New Hampshire, I drew the principles which formed the basis of my treatise on Vitreology. With this work in hand, I left Keene, in New Hampshire, early in the winter of 1817; and, crossing the Connecticut river at Brattleboro', proceeded over the Green Mountains, by the route of Bennington, to Albany, and thence returned to my father's house in western New York. No time was lost in issuing proposals for the work; and I had the satisfaction to find that the portions published, and[Pg 8] the entire plan and merits of it were warmly approved by the pen of the late Mr. Maynard of Utica, and by several liberal minded and intelligent persons. Before quitting New England, I had determined to go to the Mississippi valley, and had begun to study its geography; and I now resolved to proceed, without unnecessary delay.

Means constitute the first object of solicitude in all such undertakings. The ebbing tide of manufacturing prosperity to which I have referred, had left me very poor. From the fragments of former acquisitions, for which, however, I was exclusively indebted to my own industry, I raised a small sum of money—much smaller I think than most men would be willing to start with, who had resolved to go so far. I had, in truth, but sixty dollars in the world; but I possessed a very good wardrobe, and some other personal means, such as it may be supposed will adhere to a man who has lived in abundance for many years. I put up a miniature collection of mineralogical specimens, to serve as a standard of comparison in the west, a few implements for analysis, some books which I thought it would be difficult to meet with in that region, and some drawing materials. I had connected these things in some way with my future success. In other respects, I had the means, as above hinted, of making a respectable appearance. Thus prepared, I bade adieu to my father and mother, and also to three sisters and a brother, all younger than myself, and set forward. The winter of 1818 had opened before I reached my brother's house at Geneva, in western New York. From this point I determined to leave the main track, through the Genessee county west, and to strike the head waters of the Alleghany river, so as to descend that stream with the spring flood.

My brother drove me in his own sleigh, as far as Angelica. By the time we reached that place, being no traveller and much fatigued with the intricacies and roughness of the road, he was fain to give over his undertaking, and I parted from him, sending back the sleigh from Olean, to take him home.

The Alleghany river was locked with ice when I reached it. I had an opportunity to cross it on foot, and to examine in the vicinity those evidences of the coal formation which are found in masses of bituminous shale, slaty coal and petroleum. The river began to open about the middle of March. I left Olean in the first ark for the season, borne onwards down the sweeping Alleghany at the top of the flood, often through winding channels, and once in danger of being precipitated over a mill dam, by taking the wrong channel.

On another occasion, just as we were coming to the division of the channel, at the head of a group of islands, a tall Seneca Indian, standing in the bow of a very long pine canoe, cried out, in a tone of peculiar emphasis, "Keep to the right—I speak it." This direction we followed, and were saved from another mishap. We tied the ark to the shore at night,[Pg 9] built a fire on the bank and cooked a supper. On passing the Conowonga, it was at the height of its flood, and appeared to bring in as much water as the Alleghany. We stopped at the noted chief Cornplanter's village, and also to gratify a reminiscent curiosity, at the mouth of French Creek, connected with Washington's perilous adventure in visiting Fort de Boef, now Erie. At Kittaning, a great scow ferry boat was rowed and managed by two women or girls with a degree of muscular exertion, or rather ease, which would put to the blush many a man east or west of the Alleghanies. The tone, air, and masculine strength of these girl-boatmen, reminded me of nothing this side of Rollin's description of the Amazons—save that the same provision was not apparent for drawing the bow. Bold hills line both banks of the river along its upper parts, and continue, indeed, at farther intervals apart, to very near the junction of the Monongahela; but long before this point, the stream is one of noble dimensions, clear, broad, and strong. After a voyage of exciting and vivid interest, I reached and landed at Pittsburgh.

[Pg 10]


It is Dr. Johnson, I think, who says, that we take slight occasions to be pleased. At least, I found it so, on the present occasion; the day of my arrival was my birth day, and it required but little stretch of imagination to convert the scene upon which I had now entered, into a new world. It was new to me.—I was now fairly in the great geological valley of the west, the object of so many anticipations.

The ark, in which I had descended the Allegany, put ashore near the point of land, which is formed by the junction of the Monongahela with this fine clear stream. The dark and slowly moving waters of the one, contrasted strongly with the sparkling velocity of the other. I felt a buoyancy of spirits as I leapt ashore, and picked up some of its clean pebbles to see what kind of geological testimony they bore to the actual character of their parent beds in the Apalachian range.

"What shall I pay you, for my passage, from Olean," said I, to the gentleman with whom I had descended, and at whose ark-table I had found a ready seat with his family. "Nothing, my dear sir," he replied with a prompt and friendly air,—"Your cheerful aid in the way, taking the oars whenever the case required it, has more than compensated for any claims on that score, and I only regret that you are not going further with us."

Committing my baggage to a carman, I ascended the bank of diluvial earth and pebbles with all eagerness, and walked to the point of land where Fort Pitt (old Fort Du Quesne) had stood. It is near this point that the Alleghany and Monongahela unite, and give birth to the noble Ohio. It is something to stand at the head of such a stream. The charm of novelty is beyond all others. I could realize, in thought, as I stood here, gazing on the magnificent prospect of mingling waters, and their prominent and varied shores, the idea, which is said to be embodied in the old Mingo substantive-exclamation of O-he-o! a term, be it remembered, which the early French interpreters at once rendered, and truly, it is believed, by the name of La Belle Rivière.

So far, I said to myself, all is well,—I am now west of the great spinal chain. All that I know of America is now fairly east of me—bright streams, warm hearts and all. I have fairly cast myself loose[Pg 11] on the wide waters of the west. I have already come as many hundred miles, as there are days in the week, but I begin my travels here. I have, as it were, taken my life in my hand. Father and mother, I may never see more. God wot the result. I go to seek and fulfil an unknown destiny. Come weal or woe, I shall abide the result. All the streams run south, and I have laid in, with "time and chance" for a journey with them. I am but as a chip on their surface—nothing more! Whether my bones are to rest in this great valley, or west of the Cordilleras, or the Rocky Mountains, I know not. I shall often think of the silver Iosco, the farther I go from it. To use a native metaphor, My foot is on the path, and the word, is onward! "The spider taketh hold with her hands," Solomon says, "and is in king's palaces." Truly, a man should accomplish, by diligence, as much as a spider.

Pittsburgh was, even then, a busy manufacturing town, filled with working machinery, steam engines, hammers, furnaces, and coal smoke. I visited Mr. O'Hara, and several other leading manufacturers. They made glass, bar iron, nails, coarse pottery, castings, and many other articles, which filled its shops and warehouses, and gave it a city-like appearance. Every chimney and pipe, perpendicular or lateral, puffed out sooty coal smoke, and it required some dexterity to keep a clean collar half a day. I met ladies who bore this impress of the city, on their morning toilet. I took lodgings at Mrs. McCullough's, a respectable hotel on Wood street, and visited the various manufactories, for which the place was then, and is now celebrated. In these visits, I collected accurate data of the cost of raw material, the place where obtained, the expense of manufacture, and the price of the finished fabric. I had thus a body of facts, which enabled me, at least to converse understandingly on these topics, to give my friends in the east, suitable data, and to compare the advantages of manufacturing here with those possessed by the eastern and middle states. Every thing was, in the business prospects of the west, however, at a comparatively low ebb. The prostrating effects of the war, and of the peace, were alike felt. We had conquered England, in a second contest, but were well exhausted with the effort. The country had not recovered from the sacrifices and losses of a series of military operations, which fell most heavily on its western population. Its agricultural industry had been crippled. Its financial affairs were deranged. Its local banks were broken; its manufactories were absolutely ruined. There was little confidence in business, and never was credit, public and private, at a lower ebb. There was however, one thing, in which the west held out a shining prospect. It had abundance of the finest lands in the world, and in fact, it promised a happy home to the agricultural industry of half the world. It was literally the land of promise, to the rest of the union, if not to Europe.

Having seen whatever I wished in Pittsburgh, I hired a horse and[Pg 12] crossing the Monongahela, went up its southern banks, as high as Williamsport. I found the country people were in the habit of calling the city "Pitt" or "Fort Pitt," a term dating back doubtless to the time of the surrender, or rather taking possession of Fort Du Quesne, by Gen. Forbes. Mineral coal (bituminous) characterizes the entire region, as far as my excursion reached. By a happy coincidence in its geological structure, iron ores are contained in the series of the coal deposits. On returning from this trip, night set in, very dark: on the evening I approached the summit of the valley of the Monongahela, called Coal Hill. The long and winding road down this steep was one mass of moving mud, only varied in its consistence, by sloughs, sufficient to mire both man and horse. I was compelled to let the animal choose his own path, and could only give him aid, when the flashes of lightning lit up the scene with a momentary brilliance, which, however, had often no other effect but to remind me of my danger. He brought me, at length, safely to the brink of the river, and across the ferry.

To be at the head of the Ohio river, and in the great manufacturing city of the West, was an exciting thought, in itself. I had regarded Pittsburgh as the alpha, in my route, and after I had made myself familiar with its characteristics, and finding nothing to invite my further attention, I prepared to go onward. For this purpose, I went down to the banks of the Monongahela, one day, where the arks of that stream usually touch, to look for a passage. I met on the beach, a young man from Massachusetts, a Mr. Brigham,—who had come on the same errand, and being pleased with each other, we engaged a passage together, and getting our baggage aboard immediately, set off the same evening. To float in an ark, down one of the loveliest rivers in the world, was, at least, a novelty, and as all novelty gives pleasure, we went on charmingly. There were some ten or a dozen passengers, including two married couples. We promenaded the decks, and scanned the ever changing scenery, at every bend, with unalloyed delight. At night we lay down across the boat, with our feet towards the fire-place, in a line, with very little diminution of the wardrobe we carried by day,—the married folks, like light infantry in an army, occupying the flanks of our nocturnal array. The only objection I found to the night's rest, arose from the obligation, each one was tacitly under, to repair on deck, at the hollow night-cry of "oars!" from the steersman. This was a cry which was seldom uttered, however, except when we were in danger of being shoved, by the current, on the head of some island, or against some frowning "snag," so that we had a mutual interest in being punctual at this cry. By it, sleep was to be enjoyed only in sections, sometimes provokingly short, and our dreams of golden vallies, studded with pearls and gems, were oddly jumbled with the actual presence of plain matter of fact things, such as running across a tier of "old monongahela" or getting one's fingers[Pg 13] trod on, in scrambling on deck. We took our meals on our laps, sitting around on boxes and barrels, and made amends for the want of style or elegance, by cordial good feeling and a practical exhibition of the best principles of "association." There was another pleasing peculiarity in this mode of floating. Two or more arks were frequently lashed together, by order of their commanders, whereby our conversational circle was increased, and it was not a rare circumstance to find both singers and musicians, in the moving communities for "the west," so that those who were inclined to, might literally dance as they went. This was certainly a social mode of conquering the wilderness, and gives some idea of the bouyancy of American character. How different from the sensations felt, in floating down the same stream, by the same means, in the era of Boon,—the gloomy era of 1777, when instead of violin, or flageolet, the crack of the Indian rifle was the only sound to be anticipated at every new bend of the channel.

Off Wheeling the commander of our ark made fast to a larger one from the Monongahela, which, among other acquaintances it brought, introduced me to the late Dr. Sellman of Cincinnatti, who had been a surgeon in Wayne's army. This opened a vista of reminiscences, which were wholly new to me, and served to impart historical interest to the scene. Some dozen miles below this town, we landed at the Grave Creek Flats, for the purpose of looking at the large mound, at that place. I did not then know that it was the largest artificial structure of this kind in the western country. It was covered with forest trees of the native growth, some of which were several feet in diameter, and it had indeed, essentially the same look and character, which I found it to present, twenty-five years afterwards, when I made a special visit to this remarkable mausoleum to verify the character of some of its antiquarian contents. On ascending the flat summit of the mound, I found a charming prospect around. The summit was just 50 feet across. There was a cup-shaped concavity, in its centre, exciting the idea that there had been some internal sub-structure which had given way, and caused the earth to cave in. This idea, after having been entertained for more than half a century, was finally verified in 1838, when Mr. Abelard Tomlinson, a grandson of the first proprietor, caused it to be opened. They discovered two remarkable vaults, built partly of stone, and partly of logs, as was judged from the impressions in the earth. They were situated about seventeen feet apart, one above the other. Both contained bones, the remains of human skeletons, along with copper bracelets, plates of mica, sea shells, beads of wrought conch, called "ivory" by the multitude, and some other relics, most of which were analogous to articles of the same kind occurring in other ancient mounds in the west. The occasion would not indeed have justified the high expectations which had been formed, had it not been for the discovery, in one of the vaults, of a small flat stone of an oval form,[Pg 14] containing an inscription in ancient characters. This inscription, which promises to throw new light on the early history of America, has not been decyphered. Copies of it have been sent abroad. It is thought, by the learned at Copenhagen, to be Celtiberic. It is not, in their view, Runic. It has, apparently, but one hieroglyphic, or symbolic figure.

A good deal of historical interest clusters about this discovery of the inscribed stone. Tomlinson, the grandfather, settled on these flats in 1772, two years before the murder of Logan's family. Large trees, as large as any in the forest, then covered the flats and the mound. There stood in the depression I have mentioned, in the top of the mound, a large beech tree, which had been visited earlier, as was shewn by several names and dates cut on the bark. Among these, there was one of the date of A.D. 1734. This I have seen stated under Mr. Tomlinson's own hand. The place continued to be much visited from 1770 to 1790, as was shewn by newer names and dates, and indeed, continues to be so still. There was standing at the time of my first visit in 1818, on the very summit of the mound, a large dead or decayed white oak, which was cut down, it appears, about ten years afterwards. On counting its cortical layers, it was ascertained to be about 500 years old. This would denote the desertion of the mound to have happened about the commencement of the 13th century. Granting to this, what appears quite clear, that the inscription is of European origin, have we not evidence, in this fact, of the continent's having been visited prior to the era of Columbus? Visited by whom? By a people, or individuals, it may be said, who had the use of an antique alphabet, which was much employed, (although corrupted, varied and complicated by its spread) among the native priesthood of the western shores and islands of the European continent, prior to the introduction of the Roman alphabet.

The next object of antiquarian interest, in my descent, was at Gallipolis—the site of an original French settlement on the west bank, which is connected with a story of much interest, in the history of western migrations. It is an elevated and eligible plain, which had before been the site of an Indian, or aboriginal settlement. Some of the articles found in a mound, such as plates of mica and sea shells, and beads of the wrought conch, indicated the same remote period for this ancient settlement, as the one at Grave Creek Flats; but I never heard of any inscribed articles, or monuments bearing alphabetic characters.

All other interest, then known, on this subject, yielded to that which was felt in witnessing the antique works at Marietta. Like many others who had preceded me and many who have followed me, in my visit, I felt while walking over these semi-military ruins, a strong wish to know, who had erected works so different from those of the present race of Indians, and during what phasis of the early history of the continent? A covered way had, evidently, been constructed, from the margin of[Pg 15] the Muskingum to the elevated square, evincing more than the ordinary degree of military skill exercised by the Western Indians. Yet these works revealed one trait, which assimilates them, in character, with others, of kindred stamp, in the west. I allude to the defence of the open gate-way, by a minor mound; clearly denoting that the passage was to be disputed by men, fighting hand to hand, who merely sought an advantage in exercising manual strength, by elevation of position. The Marietta tumuli also, agree in style with others in the Ohio valley.

A leaden plate was found near this place, a few years after this visit, of which an account was given by Gov. Clinton, in a letter to the American Antiquarian Society, in 1827, but the inscription upon it, which was in Latin, but mutilated, proved that it related to the period of the French supremacy in the Canadas. It appeared to have been originally deposited at the mouth of the river Venango, A.D. 1749, during the reign of Louis XV.

While at Marietta, our flotilla was increased by another ark from the Muskingum, which brought to my acquaintance the Hon. Jesse B. Thomas, of Illinois, to whose civilities I was afterwards indebted, on several occasions. Thus reinforced, we proceeded on, delighted with the scenery of every new turn in the river, and augmenting our circle of fellow travellers, and table acquaintance, if that can be called a table acquaintance which assembles around a rustic board. One night an accident befell us, which threatened the entire loss of one of our flotilla. It so happened, at the spot of our landing, that the smaller ark, being outside, was pressed by the larger ones, so far ashore, as to tilt the opposite side into the stream below the caulked seam. It would have sunk, in a few minutes, but was held up, partly by its fastening to the other boats. To add to the interest felt, it was filled with valuable machinery. A congress of the whole travelling community assembled on shore, some pitching pebble-stones, and some taking a deeper interest in the fate of the boat. One or two unsuccessful efforts had been made to bail it out, but the water flowed in faster than it could be removed. To cut loose the rope and abandon it, seemed all that remained. "I feel satisfied," said I, to my Massachusetts friend, "that two men, bailing with might and main, can throw out more water, in a given time, than is let in by those seams; and if you will step in with me, we will test it, by trying again." With a full assent and ready good will he met this proposition. We pulled off our coats, and each taking a pail, stepped in the water, then half-leg deep in the ark, and began to bail away, with all force. By dint of determination we soon had the satisfaction to see the water line lower, and catching new spirit at this, we finally succeeded in sinking its level below the caulked seam. The point was won. Others now stepped in to our relief. The ark and its machinery were saved. This little incident was one of those which served to produce pleasurable sensations, all round, and led per[Pg 16]haps, to some civilities at a subsequent date, which were valuable to me. At any rate, Mr. Thomas, who owned the ark, was so well pleased, that he ordered a warm breakfast of toast, chickens, and coffee on shore for the whole party. This was a welcome substitute for our ordinary breakfast of bacon and tea on board. Such little incidents serve as new points of encouragement to travellers: the very shores of the river looked more delightful, after we put out, and went on our way that morning. So much has a satisfied appetite to do with the aspect of things, both without, as well as within doors.

The month of April had now fairly opened. The season was delightful. Every rural sound was joyful—every sight novel, and a thousand circumstances united to make the voyage one of deep and unmixed interest. At this early season nothing in the vegetable kingdom gives a more striking and pleasing character to the forest, than the frequent occurrence of the celtis ohioensis, or Red Bud. It presents a perfect bouquet of red, or rose-coloured petals, while there is not a leaf exfoliated upon its branches, or in the entire forest.

No incident, further threatening the well being of our party, occurred on the descent to Cincinnatti, where we landed in safety. But long before we reached this city, its outliers, to use a geological phrase, were encountered, in long lines and rafts of boards and pine timber, from the sources of the Allegheny, and arks and flat-boats, from all imaginable places, with all imaginable names, north of its latitude. Next, steamboats lying along the gravel or clay banks, then a steam-mill or two, puffing up its expended strength to the clouds, and finally, the dense mass of brick and wooden buildings, jutting down in rectangular streets—from high and exceedingly beautiful and commanding hills in the rear. All was suited to realize high expectations. Here was a city indeed, on the very spot from which St. Clair set out, on his ill-fated expedition in 1791, against the hostile Indians. Twenty-five years had served to transform the wilderness into scenes of cultivation and elegance, realizing, with no faint outlines, the gay creations of eastern fable.

[Pg 17]


Cincinnati had, at this time, (1818,) the appearance of a rapidly growing city, which appeared to have, from some general causes, been suddenly checked in its growth. Whole rows of unfinished brick buildings had been left by the workmen. Banks, and the offices of corporate and manufacturing companies, were not unfrequently found shut. Nor did it require long looking or much inquiry to learn that it had seen more prosperous times. A branch bank of the U.S. then recently established there, was much and bitterly, but I know not how justly, spoken against. But if there was not the same life and air in all departments, that formerly existed, there was abundant evidence of the existence of resources in the city and country, which must revive and push it onward in its career and growth, to rank second to no city west of the Alleghanies. This city owes its origin, I believe, to John Cleves Symes, father-in-law of the late President Harrison, a Jerseyman by birth, who, in planning it, took Philadelphia as his model. This has imparted a regularity to its streets, and squares, that visitors will at once recognize, as characteristic of its parentage. It stands on a heavy diluvial formation of various layers of clay, loam, sand, and gravel, disposed in two great plateaux, or first and second banks, the lowest of which is some thirty or forty feet above the common summer level of the Ohio. Yet this river has sometimes, but rarely, been known to surmount this barrier and invade the lowermost streets of the city. These diluvial beds have yielded some curious antiquarian relics, which lead the mind farther back, for their origin, than the Indian race. The most curious of these, if the facts are correctly reported to me, was the discovery of a small antique-shaped iron horse-shoe, found twenty-five feet below the surface in grading one of the streets, and the blunt end, or stump of a tree, at another locality, at the depth of ninety-four feet, together with marks of the cut of an axe, and an iron wedge. I have had no means to verify these facts, but state them as credible, from the corroborative testimony afforded them by other discoveries in the great geological basin of the west, examined by me, which denote human occupancy in America prior to the deposition of the last of the unconsolidated and eocene series.

Our flotilla here broke up, and the persons who had formed its floating[Pg 18] community separated, each to pursue his several way, and separate views. I made several acquaintances, whose names are recollected with pleasure. Dr. S. invited me to dine with him, introduced me to his young partner, Dr. Moorhead, and put me in the way of obtaining eligible private lodgings. The three weeks I spent in this city were agreeably passed, varied as they were, by short excursions in the vicinity, including the Licking valley—a stream which comes in, on the Kentucky side, directly opposite the city. I went, one day, to see an experimental structure, built at the foot of the Walnut hills, with a very long pipe, or wooden chamber leading up their sides, and rising above their tops. This was constructed by an ingenious person, at the expense of the late Gen. Lyttle, under the confident hope of his realizing a practical mechanical power from the rarefaction of atmospheric air. There was confessedly a power, but the difficulty was in multiplying this power, so as to render it practically applicable to the turning of machinery. The ratio of its increase, contended for, namely, the length of the pipe, appeared to me to be wholly fallacious, and the result proved it so. The thing was afterwards abandoned. There was an ancient mound here, which had not then been opened, but which has since yielded a curious ornamented stone, bearing a kind of arabesque figures, not dissimilar, in the style of drawing, to some of the rude sculptured figures of Yucatan, as recently brought to light by Mr. Stephens and Mr. Catherwood.

I received, one day, a note from one of the directors of the White Lead Works, above the city, requesting me to visit it, and inspect in detail the processes of the manufacture. The latter I found to be defective in the mode of corroding the lead by the acetic acid; there was also an unnecessary complication and amount of machinery in bringing the oxide into the condition of a good pigment, and putting it into kegs, which had been very onerous in its cost, and was perpetually liable to get out of order.

It was during my stay here that I first felt the effects of the western limestone waters in deranging the stomach and bowels, and paid for my initiation into the habit, as all strangers must, by some days confinement. Dr. M. brought me about, and checked the disease, without any permanently injurious effects on my general health.

When I was ready to proceed down the river, I went to seek a passage along the landing, but found no boat (steamboats were few and far between in those days.) While pacing the beach, I met a man of gentlemanly appearance, who had experienced the same disappointment, and was desirous to go forward in his journey. He told me, that he had found a small row boat, well built, and fitted with seats, which could be purchased for a reasonable sum; that it would hold our baggage very well, and he thought we could make a pleasant trip in it as far as Louisville at the Falls, where the means of communication by steamboats were ample. On examining the boat, and a little inquiry, I acceded to this proposition,[Pg 19] and I had no cause to regret it. This gentleman, whose name I have forgotten, but which is somewhere among my papers, was a native of the city of Nancy, but a resident of Baltimore. He was, like the city itself I believe, Franco-German, speaking the two languages very well, and the English with peculiarities. He had a benevolent and honest countenance and social, agreeable manners, not too free, nor stiffly reserved; and we performed the trip without accident, although we had a narrow escape one day from a sawyer, one of that insidious cast of these river pests, called in western parlance, a sleeping sawyer. It was now the month of May; the atmosphere was mild and balmy, loaded with the perfumes of opening vegetation; we took the oars and the helm alternately; we had a constant succession of pretty views; we put ashore to eat and to sleep, and the whole trip, which occupied some three or four days at the farthest, was perfectly delightful.

We put ashore at Vevay, where the Swiss had then newly introduced the cultivation of the vine, to see the vineyards and the mode of cultivation. I have since witnessed this culture on the banks of the Rhine, and found it to be very similar. The vines are closely pruned and kept from becoming woody, and are trained to slender sticks, which, are arranged with the order of a garden bean-bed, which at the proper season, they much resemble. We also tasted the wine, and found it poor.

On the last day of the voyage, we took into our boat a young physician—a Hollander, recently arrived in the country, telling him, that by way of equivalent, we should expect him to take his turn at the oars. He was a man of small stature—well formed, rather slovenly, yet pretty well dressed, with blue eyes, a florid face, and very voluble. Of all that he said, however, by far the most striking part, was his account of his skill in curing cancer. It was clear that he was an itinerating cancer-doctor. He said, amid other things, that he had received an invitation to go and cure the Governor of Indiana. We now had Indiana on our right hand, and Kentucky on our left.

These are the principal incidents of the trip. We reached our destination in safety, and landed on the superb natural sylvan wall, or park, which is formed by the entrance of Beargrass Creek with the Ohio, just in front of, or a little above, Louisville. Here we sold our boat, took separate lodgings, and parted. I found in a day or two, that my friend from Nancy had a flourishing school for military tactics and the sword exercise, where, at his invitation, I went to visit him. From this man, I learned, as we descended the Ohio, that the right and left banks of a river, in military science, are determined by the supposed position of a man standing at its head, and looking downwards.

I found in the limestone rocks which form the bed of the river between the town and Corn Island, the cornu ammonis and some other species of organic remains; and while I remained here, which was several weeks,[Pg 20] I wrote a notice for one of the papers, of a locality of manganese on Sandy river, Ky., and others of some other objects of natural history in the west, which I perceived, by their being copied at the eastward, were well taken. It was my theory, that there was a general interest felt in the Atlantic States for information from the west, and this slight incident served to encourage me.

The steamboat canal since constructed around the falls at this place, was then a project only spoken of, and is here alluded to for no higher purpose than to mention, that in its actual subsequent execution, we are informed the workmen came, at the depth of fourteen feet below the surface of the calcareous rock, to a brick hearth, covered with what appeared to be the remains of charcoal and ashes.

I took walks almost daily, on the fine promenade, shaded with lofty trees, festooned with their native vines, along the Beargrass Creek, which is the common place of landing for arks and boats. On one of these occasions, there came in a large ark, which had been freighted at Perryopolis, on the Yioughagany, some thirty miles from Pittsburgh. The two proprietors were K. and K., Marylanders, both young men, or verging to middle life, who had clubbed together the necessary funds, and in the spirit of adventure, resolved on a trading voyage. There was something in the air and manners of both, which I thought I could trust in for an agreeable voyage, especially as they saw in me, not a rival in commerce of any kind, but a mere observer,—a character which I found, on more than one occasion, placed me on grounds of neutrality and advantage. Steamboats are the worst vehicles ever invented by the ingenuity of man to make observations on a country, always excepting the last improvement on locomotive rail-roads. To a naturalist, especially, they are really horrible. Not a tree or plant can be examined; not a shell, or a rock certainly identified. Hundreds of miles are passed in a few hours; the effect of speed is to annihilate space; town succeeds town, and object object, with such rapidity, that there is no distinct time left for observation or reflection; and after the voyager has reached his point of destination, he is often seriously in doubt, what he has seen, and what he has not seen, and is as much puzzled to put together the exact feature of the country's geography, as if he were called to re-adjust the broken incidents of a night's dream. I had yet another objection to this class of boats, at the era mentioned. Their boilers and machinery were not constructed with elaborate skill and strength; their commanders were often intemperate, and a spirit of reckless rivalry existed, whose results were not infrequently exhibited in exploded, sunk, or grounded boats, and the loss of lives.

It is a regulation of law that pilots are provided for all boats, descending the falls—a descent, by the way, which can only be made on the Indiana side. When this officer came on board, the owners thought best to go by land to Shippingport. I had less at stake in its safety than they, yet felt a[Pg 21] desire to witness this novel mode of descent; nor did the result disappoint me. Standing on the deck, or rather flat roof of the ark, the view was interesting and exciting. The first point at which the mass of water breaks was the principal point of danger, as there is here a powerful reflux, or eddy current, on the right hand, while the main velocity of the current drives the vessel in a direction which, if not checked by the large sweeps, would inevitably swamp it. The object is to give this check, and shoot her into the eddy water. This was done. The excitement ceased in a few moments, and we passed the rest of the way with less exertion to the men, and got down the remainder of the falls in perfect safety. All this danger to the growing commerce of the west, is now remedied by the Louisville canal, which, by a work of but two miles in length, which holds the relative position of a string to the bow, connects the navigable waters above and below those falls, and permits all river craft of the largest burden to pass.

It was about the falls of the Ohio, or a little above, that I first saw the gay and noisy paroquet, or little parrot of the west; a gregarious bird, whose showy green and yellow plumage makes it quite an object to be noticed and remembered in a passage on the lower Ohio. One of these birds, which had been wounded, was picked up out of the river, a few miles below the falls. It was evident, from the occurrence of this species, and other features in the natural history of the country, that we were now making a rapid southing. The red-bud, the papaw, the buckeye, and the cucumber tree, had all introduced themselves to notice, among the forest species, below Pittsburgh; although they are all, I think, actually known to extend a little north of that latitude; and we now soon had added to the catalogue, the pecan and cypress, and the cane, with the constant attendant of the latter, the green briar. I had no opportunity to examine the pecan, until we reached the mouth of the Wabash and Shawneetown, where I went on a shooting excursion with a young Kentuckian, who gave me the first practical exhibition of bringing down single pigeons and other small game with the rifle, by generally striking the head or neck only. I had heard of this kind of shooting before, and witnessed some capital still shots, but here was a demonstration of it, in brush and brier—catching a sight as best one could. The ball used on these occasions was about the size of a large buckshot.

Shawneetown is a word which brings to mind one of the North American tribes, who, between 1632 and the present time, figure as one of the frontier actors in our history. They have, in this time, with the ubiquity of one of their own genii, skipped over half America. They were once, certainly dwellers on the Savannah, if not, at a still earlier day, on the Suanee, in Florida; then fled north, a part coming down the Kentucky river, and a part fleeing to the Delaware, and thence west. They are now on the Konga, west of the Missouri. So much for the association of names.[Pg 22] History never remembers any thing which she can possibly forget, and I found at least, one high-feeling personage here, who did not like the manner in which I associated the modern town with reminiscences of the savages. "Why, sir," said he, as we walked the deck of the ark, floating down the Ohio, and getting nearer the place every moment, "we have a bank there, and a court house; it is the seat of justice for Gallatin county;—and a printing press is about to be established;—it is a very thriving place, and it bids fair to remain second to none below the Wabash." "All this, truly," I responded, willing to reprove pride in an easy way, "is a great improvement on the wigwam and the council-fire, and wampum coin-beads." It is sometimes better to smile than argue, and I found it so on the present occasion. I did not wish to tread on the toes of rising greatness, or pour upon a love of home and locality, honorable and praise-worthy in my fellow traveller, the chilling influence of cold historical facts. My allusions were the mere effect of the association of ideas, resulting from names. If the residents of Shawneetown do not like to be associated with the native race, who would not have exchanged a good bow and arrows for all the court houses in Christendom, they should bestow upon the place some epithet which may sever the tie.

[Pg 23]


After stopping a day or more at Shawneetown, and reconnoitering its vicinity, I proceeded to the mouth of the Cumberland, and from thence, after many days detention at that point waiting for a boat, to the mouth of the Ohio. I found this to be a highly interesting section of the river, from its great expanse and its fine water prospects. The picturesque calcareous cliffs on the west banks, display a novel and attractive line of river scenery. The Ohio had, from its commencement, well sustained the propriety of its ancient appellation of the Beautiful River; but it here assumed something more than beautiful—it was majestic. Let it be borne in mind that this stream, in the course of some seven or eight hundred miles flow from Pittsburg to Shawneetown, had been swelled on the right and left hand by the Scioto, the Muskingum, the Kentucky, the Miami, Green River, Wabash, and other rivers of scarcely inferior size. It is still further augmented, from the left bank, with those noble tributaries, the Cumberland and Tennessee, which bring in the gathered drain of the middle ranges of the Alleghanies. It is below Shawneetown, too, that the cliffs of the Cave-in-Rock-Coast present themselves on the west shore—with their associations of the early robber-era which has been commemorated by the pen of fiction of Charles Brockden Brown. These cliffs are cavernous, and assume varied forms. They rise in bold elevations, which bear the general name of the Knobs, but which are well worthy of the name of mountains. Distinct from the interest they have by casting their castle-like shadows, at sunset, in the pure broad stream, they constitute a kind of Derbyshire in their fine purple spars, and crystalized galena and other mineralogical attractions. I was told that a German of the name of Storch, who pretended to occult knowledge, had, years before, led money and mineral diggers about these Knobs, and that he was the discoverer of the fine fluates of lime found here.

One can hardly pass these broken eminences, with the knowledge that they tally in their calcareous structure and position with the rock formation of the Missouri state border, lying immediately west of them, without regarding them as the apparent monuments of some ancient geological change, which affected a very wide space of country north of their position. A barrier of this nature, which should link the Tennessee and Mis[Pg 24]souri coasts, at Grand Tower, would have converted into an inland sea the principal area of the present states of Illinois, Indiana, and Southern Ohio. The line of separation in this latitude is not great. It constitutes the narrowest point between the opposing rock formations of the east and west shores, so far as the latter rise through and above the soil.

I was still in a floating Monongahela ark as we approached this coast of cliffs. The day was one of the mildest of the month of June, and the surface of the water was so still and calm that it presented the appearance of a perfect mirror. Our captain ordered alongside the skiff, which served as his jolly boat, and directed the men to land me at the Great Cave. Its wide and yawning mouth gave expectations, however, which were not realized. It closes rapidly as it is pursued into the rock, and never could have afforded a safe shelter for gangs of robbers whose haunts were known. Tradition states, on this point, that its mouth was formerly closed and hid by trees and foliage, by which means the unsuspecting voyagers with their upward freight were waylaid. We overtook the slowly floating ark before it had reached Hurricane Island, and the next land we made was at Smithfield, at the mouth of the Cumberland. While here, several discharged Tennessee militiamen, or volunteers from the still unfinished Indian war in the south, landed on their way home. They were equipped after the fashion of western hunters, with hunting shirts and rifles, and took a manifest pride in declaring that they had fought under "old Hickory"—a term which has, since that era, become familiar to the civilized world. I here first saw that singular excrescence in the vegetable kingdom called cypress knees. The point of land between the mouth of the Cumberland and Ohio, was a noted locality of the cypress tree. This tree puts up from its roots a blunt cone, of various size and height, which resembles a sugar loaf. It is smooth, and without limb or foliage. An ordinary cone or knee would measure eight inches in diameter, and thirty inches high. It would seem like an abortive effort of the tree to put up another growth. The paroquet was exceedingly abundant at this place, along the shores, and in the woods. They told me that this bird rested by hooking its upper mandible to a limb. I made several shooting excursions into the neighbouring forests, and remember that I claimed, in addition to smaller trophies of these daily rambles, a shrike and a hystrix.

At length a keel boat came in from the Illinois Saline, commanded by a Captain Ensminger—an Americo-German—a bold, frank man, very intelligent of things relating to river navigation. With him I took passage for St. Louis, in Missouri, and we were soon under weigh, by the force of oars, for the mouth of the Ohio. We stopped a short time at a new hamlet on the Illinois shore, which had been laid out by some speculators of Cincinnati, but was remarkable for nothing but its name. It was called, by a kind of bathos in nomenclature, "America." I observed on[Pg 25] the shores of the river at this place, a very recent formation of pudding-stone, or rather a local stratum of indurated pebbles and clay, in which the cementing ingredient was the oxyde of iron. Chalybeate waters percolated over and amongst this mass. This was the last glimpse of consolidated matter. All below, and indeed far above, was alluvial, or of recent origin. Nothing could exceed the fertile character of the soil, or its rank vegetation and forest growth, as we approached the point of junction; but it was a region subject to periodical overflows, the eras of which were very distinctly marked by tufts and bunches of grass, limbs, and other floating matter which had been lodged and left in the forks and branches of trees, now fifteen or twenty feet above our heads. It was now the first day of July, and I felt the most intense interest as we approached and came to the point of confluence. I had followed the Ohio, in all its sinuosities, a thousand miles. I had spent more than three months in its beautiful and varied valley; and I had something of the attachment of an old friend for its noble volume, and did not well like to see it about to be lost in the mighty Mississippi. Broad and ample as it was, however, bringing in the whole congregated drain of the western slopes of the Alleghanies and the table lands of the Great Lakes, the contest was soon decided. The stream had, at that season, sunk down to its summer level, and exhibited a transparent blue volume. The Mississippi, on the contrary, was swelled by the melting snows of the Rocky Mountains, and was in its vernal flood. Coming in at rather an acute angle, it does not immediately arrest the former, but throws its waters along the Tennessee shores. It runs with prodigious velocity. Its waters are thick, turbid, and replete with mingled and floating masses of sand and other comminuted rock and floating vegetation, trees, and rubbish. For miles the line of separation between the Ohio and Mississippi waters was visible by its colour; but long before it reaches the Iron Banks, the modern site of Memphis—the Father of Waters, as it is poetically, not literally, called—had prevailed, and held on its way to make new conquests of the St. Francis, the White, the Arkansas, and other noble streams.

Our captain, although he had no lack of self-confidence, did not seem to be in haste to grapple with this new foe, by plunging at once into the turbid stream, but determined to try it next morning. This left me, a good part of the day, in a position where there was not much to reward inquiry. I fished awhile from the boat's side, but was rewarded with nothing besides a gar, a kind of sword, or rather billed fish, which appears to be provided with this appendage to stir up its food or prey from a muddy bottom. Its scales and skin are nearly as hard and compact as a shark's, and its flesh is equally valueless. It is at this point that the town of Cairo has since been located. There were, at the period mentioned, several arks and flat-boats lying on the higher banks, where they had been moored in high water. These now served as dwellings, and by cutting doors in[Pg 26] their sides they formed rude groceries and provision stores. Whatever else, however, was to be seen at so low and nascent a point, the mosquito, as night came on, soon convinced us that he was the true magnate of those dominions.

The next morning at an early hour our stout-hearted commander put his boatmen in motion, and turned his keel into the torrent; but such was the velocity of the water, and its opacity and thick turbidness, that I thought we should have been precipitated down stream, and hurled against sunken logs. Those who have ascended this stream in the modern era of steamboats, know nothing of these difficulties. It seemed impossible to stem the current. A new mode of navigation, to me at least, was to be tried, and it was evidently one which the best practised and stoutest-hearted men by no means relished. These boats are furnished with a plank walk on each side, on which slats are nailed to give a foothold to the men. Each man has a pole of ash wood about 16 feet long, with a wooden knob at the head to rest against the shoulder, and a blunt point at the other end shod with iron. Planting these upon the bottom near shore, with their heads facing down stream, the men bend all their force upon them, propelling the boat by their feet in the contrary direction. This is a very laborious and slow mode of ascent, which has now been entirely superseded on the main rivers by the use of steam.

Such is the fury and velocity of the current, that it threatens at every freshet to tear down and burst asunder its banks, and run lawless through the country. Often whole islands are swept away in a short time. We had an instance of this one night, when the island against which we were moored, began to tumble into the channel, threatening to overwhelm us by the falling earth and the recoil of the waves, and we got away to the main shore with much effort, for night was set in, the current furious, and the shore to which we were going entirely unknown. To have struck a sunken log on such a traverse, under such circumstances, must have been fatal. We got at length upon a firm shore, where we moored and turned in at a late hour; but a curious cause of alarm again roused us. Some animal had made its appearance on the margin of the stream, not far below us, which in the dimness of the night appeared to be a bear. All who had arms, got them, and there was quite a bustle and no little excitement among the cabin passengers. The most knowing pronounced it to be a white bear. It produced a snorting sound resembling it. It seemed furious. Both white and furious it certainly was, but after much delay, commendable caution, and no want of the display of courage, it turned out to be a large wounded hog, which had been shot in the snout and head, and came to allay its fevered and festered flesh, by night, in the waters of the Mississippi.

To stem the current along this portion of the river required almost superhuman power. Often not more than a few miles can be made with[Pg 27] a hard day's exertions. We went the first day six miles, the second about the same distance, and the third eight miles, which brought us to the first cultivated land along a low district of the west shore, called the Tyewapety Bottom. There were six or eight small farms at this spot; the land rich, and said to be quite well adapted for corn, flax, hemp, and tobacco. I observed here the papaw. The next day we ascended but three miles and stopped, the crew being found too weak to proceed. While moored to the bank, we were passed by several boats destined for St. Louis, which were loaded with pine boards and plank from Olean, on the sources of the Alleghany. They told us that sixty dollars per thousand feet could be obtained for them.

Additional men having been hired, we went forward the next day to a point which is called the Little Chain of Rocks, where, from sickness in some of the hands, another halt became necessary. It is at this point that the firm cherty clay, or diluvial soil of the Missouri shore, first presents itself on the banks of the river. This soil is of a sterile and mineral character. I noticed beneath the first elevated point of it, near the river's edge, a locality of white compact earth, which is called chalk, and is actually used as such by mechanics. On giving a specimen of it, after my return to New York in 1819, to Mr. John Griscom, he found it completely destitute of carbonic acid; it appears to be a condition of alumine or nearly pure clay. Large masses of pudding-stone, disrupted from their original position, were seen lying along the shore at this locality, being similar in their character to that seen on approaching the mouth of the Ohio.

We ascended the river this day ten miles, and the next five miles, which brought us to Cape Girardeau, at the estimated distance of fifty miles above the mouth of the Ohio. At this place I was received with attention by one of the principal residents, who, on learning that my object was to examine the natural history of the country, invited me to his house. In rambling the vicinity, they showed me a somewhat extra but dilapidated and deserted house, which had been built by one Loramee, a Spanish trader, who has left his name on one of the branches of the river St. Mary's of Indiana. This old fabric excited a strong interest in my mind as I walked through its open doors and deserted rooms, by a popular story, how true I know not, that the occupant had been both a rapacious and cruel man, siding with the Indians in the hostilities against our western people; and that he had, on one occasion, taken a female captive, and with his own hands cut off her breasts.

The journey from Cape Girardeau to St. Louis occupied nineteen days, and was fraught with scenes and incidents of interest, which I should detail with pleasure were it compatible with my limits. Indeed, every day's voyage along this varied and picturesque shore presented objects of remark, which both commended themselves to my taste, and which the slow mode of ascent gave me full means to improve. This might be said particularly[Pg 28] of its geological structure and its mineralogical productions—themes which were then fresh and new, but which have lost much of their attractions by the progress which natural science has made in the country during six and twenty years. To these topics it is the less necessary to revert, as they were embraced in the results of my tour, given in my "View of the Mines," published in 1819.

The article improperly called pumice, which floats down the Missouri during its floods, from the burning coal banks in the Black Hills, I first picked up on the shore in the ascent above Cape Girardeau, and it gave me an intimation that the waters had commenced falling. We came to, the same night, at a well known fountain, called the Moccasin Spring, a copious and fine spring of crystal water, which issues from an elongated orifice in the limestone rock.

While lying at the mouth of the river Obrazo, where we were detained on account of hands, several boats touched at the place, carrying emigrants from Vermont and New York, whose destination was the most westerly settlements on the Missouri. At higher points in the ascent we encountered emigrants from Maine, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Kentucky, which denotes the wide range of the spirit of migration at the era. The ends of the Union seemed to be brought together by this general movement towards the west. It was not uncommon to find representatives from a great number of the states in these accidental meetings; they were always of a social and highly friendly character, and the effect of such a system of intercommunication and residence, from districts widely separated, could not but be highly auspicious in promoting uniformity of manners and opinions, and assimilating customs, dress, and language. If long continued it must destroy provincialisms, and do much to annihilate local prejudices.

Every one who has ascended this stream will recollect the isolated cliff, standing in its waters, called Grand Tower, with the corresponding developments of the coast on the contiguous shores, which tell the traveller plainly enough that here is the site of some ancient disruptive process in the physical history of the valley. The current has an increased velocity in sweeping around this obstacle; and we found, as the waters fell, that there were numerous eddies and strong jets or currents along this precipitous coast, which it required extra force to surmount. We saw one day a number of pelicans standing on a sand bar. The wild turkey and quail were daily encountered on shore.

Our approach to St. Genevieve was preceded by a sight of one of those characteristic features in all the early French settlements in this quarter—the great public field extending several miles, five miles I think, along the banks of the river. St. Genevieve itself lies about a mile from the river, and is concealed by irregularities in the surface. It is a highly characteristic antique French town, and reminds one strongly of the style and[Pg 29] manner of building of the provincial villages and towns of the parent country, as still existing. Three miles above this place we came to a noted point of crossing called the Little Rock Ferry; a spot worthy of note at that time as the residence of a very aged Frenchman, called Le Breton. Statements which are believed to be true, made him 109 years old. From his own account he was at the seige of Bergen-op-zoom, in Flanders; at the seige of Louisburg; at the building of Fort Chartres, in Illinois; and at Braddock's defeat. After his discharge, he discovered those extensive lead mines in Washington county, about forty miles west of the river, which still bear his name.

The coast between St. Genevieve and Herculaneum is almost one continuous cliff of precipitous rocks, which are broken through chiefly at the points where rivers and streams discharge. Herculaneum itself is seated on one of these limited areas, hemmed in by cliffs, which, in this case, were rendered still more picturesque by their elevated shot towers. I landed at this place about noon of my twenty-second day's ascent, and finding it a convenient avenue to the mine district, determined to leave my baggage at a hotel till my return from St. Louis, and pursue the rest of the journey to that place on foot. It was at this point that I was introduced to Mr. Austin, the elder, who warmly approved my plan of exploring the mines, and offered every facility in his power to further it. Mr. Austin was, he informed me at a subsequent stage of our acquaintance, a native of Connecticut. He had gone early into Virginia and settled at Richmond, where his eldest son was born, and afterwards removed to Wythe county. In 1778 he went into Upper Louisiana, enduring severe sufferings and the risk of life, in crossing the country by way of Vincennes to St. Louis, where he was well received by the Spanish local governor. He obtained a grant of land in the present area of Washington county, the principal seat of the older mines. About the time I went to Missouri, or soon after it, he resolved to visit San Antonio, in Texas, with a view of introducing a colony of Americans into that quarter. This plan he carried into execution, I think, in 1820, and returned with an ample grant; but he did not live to carry its stipulations into effect, having died suddenly after his return, at the house of his daughter, Mrs. Bryant, at Hazel Run.

Mr. Austin was a man of great zeal and fervour of imagination, and entered very warmly into all his plans and views, whatever they were. He was hospitable, frank, intelligent, and it is with feelings of unmixed pleasure, that I revert to my acquaintance with him, no less than with his talented son, Stephen, and the excellent, benign, and lady-like Mrs. Austin, and other members of this intelligent family.

[Pg 30]

NO. V.

Herculaneum had nothing in common with its sombre Italian prototype, which has been dug out of dust and ashes in modern times, but its name. Instead of buried palaces and ruins of a luxurious age of marble, bronze and silver, most of the houses were built of squared oak logs, and had bulky old fashioned chimneys, built outside with a kind of castelated air, as they are seen in the old French and Dutch settlements in Canada, and along the vallies of the Hudson and Mohawk. The arts of painting and gilding and cornices, had not yet extended their empire here. Mr. Austin's residence, was the only exception to this remark, I remember. The Courts of Justice were content to hold their sessions in one of the oaken timber buildings named; the county jail had a marvellous resemblance to an ample smoke-house, and my kind host, Ellis, who was a native of South Carolina, was content to serve up substantial and good cheer in articles, not exhumed from a city buried in volcanic ashes, but in plain fabrics of Staffordshire and Birmingham. In addition to the host-like and agreeable resort, which travellers unexpectedly found at his hands, in a mansion whose exterior gave no such signs, he presided over the department of a public ferry, established at this place, across the wild and fluctuating Mississippi; and had he kept note book, he could have given account of many a one, from other lands, with golden hopes of the far west, whom he had safely conducted, against the most adverse floods, to the Missouri shore. I found a few old books at his house, which showed that there had been readers in his family, and which helped to while away moments, which every traveller will find on his hands.

I have intimated that there was nothing in the way of the antique, in Herculaneum, but its name. To this I might add, that there was no exception, unless it be found in the impressions of objects, in the structure of the rocks, in this quarter, denoting a prior age of existence. I was shown an impression, in the surface of a block of limestone, quarried here, which was thought to resemble a man's foot. It did not appear to me to bear this similitude, but was rather to be referred to some organic extinct forms, which are not yet well understood.

Having passed a couple of days here, I set out early one morning,[Pg 31] on foot, for St. Louis, accompanied by two young men from Pennsylvania, with whom I had become acquainted on prior parts of my route. They had come with an adventure of merchandize from the waters of the Yioughagany, and were desirous of seeing the (then) capitol of the Territory. Nothing untoward occurred, until we reached and crossed the river Merrimack, where night overtook us, and set in with intense darkness, just as we reached the opposite shore. There was but one house in the vicinity; and not distant more than a mile, but such was the intensity of the darkness, owing to clouds and a gathering storm, that we lost the road, wandered in the woods for some hours, during which the rain commenced, and were at length directed to the house we sought, by the faint and occasional tinkling of a cow bell.

We travelled the next morning twelve miles, to breakfast at the antique looking village of Carondalet. The route lies over an elevated tract of uplands, eligibly situated on the right bank of the Mississippi, in which a growth of wild prairie grass and flowers, filled up the broad spaces between the trees. There was no habitation visible on the route—a standing spring under a ledge of rocks, about half way, was the only spot where we could get a drop of water to allay our thirst—for it was a hot August day. We encountered several deer, and from the frequent occurrence of their tracks, deemed such an occurrence to be common. It is on this elevated and airy tract, that the site of Jefferson Barracks, has since been judiciously established by the government.

Beyond Carondalet, the country has the appearance of a grown-up heath. It is a bushy uninviting tract, without mature forest trees. The most interesting feature we saw, consisted of a number of regular depressions, or cup-shaped concavities in the soil, caused by the passage of springs over a clay basis, upon which there is deposited a heavy diluvial stratum of sand, mixed earth and pebbles. Within about three miles of the city, this heathy and desolate tract began to assume a cultivated character; dwellings and gardens soon succeeded, and we found ourselves, by almost imperceptible grades, introduced into the city, which we reached about four o'clock in the afternoon. On entering its ancient Spanish barriers, we noticed one of the old stone towers, or defences, which constituted a part of the enclosure. This town, I afterwards learned, had been regularly walled and fortified, during the possession of the country by the Spanish crown. As soon as I had taken lodgings, I called on R. Pettibone Esq., a friend formerly of Vernon, in western N.Y. who had established himself in this central city of the west, in the practice of the law; he was not in, at the moment, but his family received me with cordiality. He returned my visit in the evening, and insisted on my taking up my quarters at his house. The time that I spent here, was devoted to the most prominent objects which the town and its vicinity presented to interest a stranger, such as the private museum of the late Gen. Wm. Clark,[Pg 32] containing many articles of rich and valuable Indian costume; the large natural mounds above the city, and the character of the rock formation along the shores of the river, which was said to have had the impressions of human feet, on its original surface. The latter I did not see till the summer of 1821, when the block of stone containing them was examined in Mr. Rapp's garden, at Harmony, on the Wabash.

My inclinations having led me, at this time, to visit the extensive lead mines, southwest of this city, on the waters of the Merrimack, I lost no time in retracing my way to Herculaneum, by descending the Mississippi.

When I was prepared to descend the river, the two gentlemen who had been my travelling companions, on the journey up, had completed the business of their adventure, and offered me a seat, in a small boat, under their control. It was late in the afternoon of the day that this arrangement was proposed, and it was dusk before we embarked; but it was thought the village of Cahokia, some five or six miles below, could be reached in good season. A humid and misty atmosphere rendered the night quite dark, and we soon found ourselves afloat on the broad current of the stream, without knowing our position, for it was too intensely dark to descry the outlines of either shore. Being in a light open boat, we were not only in some peril, from running foul of drifting trees, but it became disagreeably cold. On putting in for the Illinois shore, a low sandy bar, or shoal was made, but one of my companions who had landed came running back with an account of a bear and her cub, which caused us to push on about a mile further, where we passed the night, without beds or fire. Daylight disclosed to us the fact that we had passed Cahokia; we then crossed over to the Missouri shore, and having taken breakfast at Carondalet, continued the voyage, without any further misadventure, and reached Herculaneum at noon.

I lost no time in preparing to visit the mines, and having made arrangements for my baggage to follow, set out on foot for Potosi. The first day I proceeded eighteen miles, and reached Steeples, at the head of the Zwoshau, or Joachim river, at an early hour. The day was excessively hot, and the road lay for the greater part of the distance, over a ridge of land, which afforded no water, and very little shelter from the sun's rays. I met not a solitary individual on the route, and with the exception of the small swift footed lizard, common to the way side, and a single wild turkey, nothing in the animal kingdom. The antlers of the deer frequently seen above the grass, denoted it however to abound in that animal. I was constrained while passing this dry tract, to allay my thirst at a pool, in a rut, not, however, without having disconcerted a wild turkey, which had come apparently for the same purpose.

Next day I crossed the valley of Grand or Big river, as it is commonly called, and at the distance of twelve miles from the Joachim, I entered the mining village of Shibboleth—the feudal seat, so to say, of the noted[Pg 33] "John Smith T." of whose singularities rumour had already apprized me. Here was a novel scene. Carts passing with loads of ore—smelting furnaces, and fixtures, and the half-hunter, half-farmer costumes of the group of men who were congregated about the principal store, told me very plainly, that I was now in the mining region. Lead digging and discovering, and the singular hap-hazards of men who had suddenly got rich by finding rich beds of ore, and suddenly got poor by some folly or extravagance, gave a strong colouring to the whole tone of conversation at this spot, which was carried on neither in the mildest or most unobtrusive way; quite a vocabulary of new technical words burst upon me, of which it was necessary to get the correct import. I had before heard of the pretty term, "mineral blossom," as the local name for radiated quartz, but here were tiff (sulphate of barytes), glass-tiff (calcareous spar), "mineral sign," and a dozen other words, to be found in no books. At the head of these new terms stood the popular word "mineral," which invariably meant galena, and nothing else. To hunt mineral, to dig mineral, and to smelt mineral, were so many operations connected with the reduction of the ores of galena.

I soon found the group of men about the village store, was a company of militia, and that I was in the midst of what New Yorkers call a "training," which explained the hunter aspect I had noticed. They were armed with rifles, and dressed in their every day leather or cotton hunting shirts. The officers were not distinguished from the men, either because swords were not easily procured, or more probably, because they did not wish to appear with so inefficient and useless an arm. "Food for powder," was the first term that occurred to me on first surveying this group of men, but nothing could have been more inapposite; for although like "lean Jack's" men, they had but little skill in standing in a right line, never were men better skilled for personal combat,—from the specimens given, I believe there was hardly a man present, who could not drive a bullet into the size of a dollar at a hundred yards. No man was better skilled in this art, either with rifle or pistol, than the Don of the village, the said John Smith T., or his brother, called "the Major," neither of whom travelled, or eat, or slept, as I afterwards witnessed, without their arms. During my subsequent rambles in the mine country, I have sat at the same table, slept in the same room, and enjoyed the conversation of one or the other, and can say, that their extraordinary habit of going fully armed, was united in both with courteous manners, honourable sentiments, and high chivalric notions of personal independence; and I had occasion to notice, that it was none but their personal enemies, or opponents in business, that dealt in vituperation against them. John Smith T. was doubtless a man of singular and capricious humours, and a most fiery spirit, when aroused; of which scores of anecdotes are afloat. He was at variance with several of his most conspicuous neighbours, and, if he be likened to the lion of[Pg 34] the forest, it will be perfectly just to add, that most of the lesser animals stood in fear of him.

My stop here had consumed some time, but thinking I could still reach Minè a Burton, I pushed on, but had only proceeded a couple of miles when I was hastily compelled to seek shelter from an impending shower. As it was late, and the storm continued, I remained at a farm house, at Old Mines during the night. They gave me a supper of rich fresh milk and fine corn bread. In the morning, a walk of three miles brought me to Potosi, where I took lodgings at Mr. Ficklin's, proprietor of the principal inn of the place. Mr. F. was a native of Kentucky, a man of open frank manners, and most kind benevolent feelings, who had seen much of frontier life, had lived a number of years in Missouri, and now at a rather advanced period of life, possessed a fund of local knowledge and experience, the communication of which rendered the time I spent at his house both profitable and pleasing.

I reached Potosi on the second of August. The next day was the day of the county election[1], which brought together the principal miners and agricultural gentlemen of the region, and gave me a favourable opportunity of forming acquaintance, and making known the object of my visit. I was particularly indebted to the civilities of Stephen F. Austin, Esq. for these introductions. During my stay in the country he interested himself in my success, omitted no opportunity of furthering my views, and extending my acquaintance with the geological features and resources of the country. He offered me an apartment in the old family mansion of Durham Hall, for the reception and accumulation of my collections. Mr. Bates and sons, Mr. Jones and sons, Mr. Perry and brothers, Mr. Elliot, Mr. Brickey, Mr. Honey and others, seconded these civilities. Indeed the friendly and obliging disposition I uniformly met with, from the inhabitants of the mines, and the mine country generally, is indelibly impressed on my memory.

[1] About 70 votes were polled in the town of Potosi. Mr. Austin, the younger, was returned by the county to the Territorial Legislature.

I was now at the capital of the mines, and in a position most favourable for obtaining true information of their character and value. Three months devoted to this object left scarcely a nook of the country which I had not either personally explored, or obtained authentic information of. I found forty-five principal mines, or mineral diggings as some of them are called, within a circumference of less than forty miles. Potosi, and its vicinity yielded annually about three millions of pounds of lead, and furnished employment to the estimated number, of eleven to twelve hundred hands. The business was however depressed, like almost every other branch of domestic arts or industry, after the peace of 1814, owing to the great influx and low prices of[Pg 35] foreign products, and the general derangement of currency and credit. Prepared ore, delivered at the furnaces, was worth two dollars per cwt., paid chiefly in merchandize. Pig lead sold at four dollars, at the mines; and but half a dollar higher on the banks of the Mississippi, and was quoted at seven dollars in the Atlantic cities. Judged from these data, there appeared no adequate cause for the alleged depression; for in addition to the ordinary merchant's profit, in the disposition of his stock to the operative miner or digger of ore, a profit of one cent and a half per pound was left, over and above the cost of transportation to an eastern market; besides, the difference in exchange, between the south western and eastern cities. And it was evident, from a view of the whole subject, that the business could not only be profitably pursued, with economical arrangements, but that the public domain, upon which most of the mines are seated, might be made to yield a revenue to the treasury, at least equal to the amount of this article required for the national consumption, over the expenses, the superintendence and management. Besides which, there was great room for improved and economical modes of mining; and there was hardly one of the manipulations, from the making of a common drill or pick, to the erection of a smelting furnace, which did not admit of salutary changes for the better. The recovery of the mere waste lead, in its sublimated form, around the open log furnaces of the country, promised to add a valuable item to the profit of the business. The most wasteful, hurried, and slovenly of all systems is pursued in exploring and raising the ore, by which the surface of the country is riddled with pit holes, in the most random manner; the loose and scattered deposits in the soil hastily gathered up, and the real lead and veins of metal left, in very many cases, untouched. Thousands of square acres of land were thus partially rifled of their riches, and spoiled, and condemned, without being exhausted. By having no scientific knowledge of mineral veins and geological structure, as practically adopted in Europe, all rule in the process of mining and raising the ore had degenerated into mere guess work, and thousands of dollars had been wasted, in some places, where the application of some of the plainest mining principles, would not have warranted the removal of a shovel full of earth. In short, there was here observed, a blending of the miner and farmer character. Almost every farmer was a miner. Planters who had slaves, employed them part of the year in mining; and every miner, to some extent was a farmer. Because the ore found in the clay beds did not occur in east and west, or north and south lines, or its rules of deposition had not been determined by careful observation, all success in the exploration was supposed to be the result of chance. And whoever surveys the mineral counties of Missouri, will be ready to conclude, that more labour has been thrown away in the helter-skelter system of digging, than was ever applied to well directed or profitable[Pg 36] mining. Had an absolute monarch called for this vast amount of labour from his people to build some monument, he would have been declared the greatest tyrant. Indeed, I know of no instance in America, of the misapplication of so great an amount of free labour—labour cheerfully bestowed, and thrown away without a regret. For the losers in mining, like the adventurers in a lottery, have no one to blame but themselves.

It appeared to me that a statement of the actual condition of the mines, would be received with attention at Washington, and that a system for the better management of them could not but be approved, were it properly brought forward. I determined to make the attempt. It did not, however, appear to me, that nature had limited the deposits of ore to one species, or to so limited an area, and I sought means to extend my personal examinations farther west and south. To bring this about, and to collect the necessary information to base statements on, in a manner correspondent to my wishes, required time, and a systematic mode of recording facts.

To this object, in connexion with the natural history of the country, I devoted the remainder of the year, and a part of the following year. I soon found, after reaching the mines, that I had many coadjutors in the business of collecting specimens, in the common miners, some of whom were in the habit of laying aside for me, any thing they found, in their pits and leads, which assumed a new or curious character. Inquiries and applications relative to the mineralogy and structure of the country were made, verbally and by letter, from many quarters. I established my residence at Potosi, but made excursions, from time to time, in various directions. Some of these excursions were fruitful of incidents, which would be worth recording, did the cursory character of these reminiscences permit it. On one occasion, I killed a horse by swimming him across the Joachim river, at its mouth, whilst he was warm and foaming from a hard day's ride. He was put in the stable and attended, but died the next day, as was supposed, from this sudden transition. There was scarcely a mine or digging in the country, for forty miles around, which I did not personally examine; and few persons, who had given attention to the subject, from whom I did not derive some species of information.

The general hospitality and frankness of the inhabitants of the mine country could not but make a favourable impression on a stranger. The custom of riding on horseback, in a region which affords great facilities for it, makes every one a horseman and a woodsman, and has generated something of the cavalier air and manners. But nothing impressed me more, in this connexion, than the gallant manner, which I observed here, of putting a lady on horseback. She stands facing you, with the bridle in her right hand, and gives you her left. She then places one of her feet in your left hand, which you stoop to receive, when, by a simultaneous exertion and spring, she is vaulted backwards into the saddle. Whether[Pg 37] this be a transmitted Spanish custom, I know not, but I have not observed it in the French, or American settlements west of the Alleghanies.

The earthquakes of 1812, which were so disastrous in South America, are known to have propagated themselves towards the north, and they exerted some striking effects in the lower part of the valley of the Mississippi, sending down into the channel of the latter, large areas of deluvial earth, as was instanced, in a remarkable manner, at New Madrid. Portions of the forest, back of this town, sunk, and gave place to lakes and lagoons. These effects were also witnessed, though in a milder form, in the more solid formations of the mine country. Soon after reaching Potosi, I visited the Mineral Fork, a tributary of the Merrimack, where some of these effects had been witnessed. I descended into the pit and crevices of the Old Mines. These mines were explored in the metalliferous rock. Every thing had an old and ruinous look, for they had been abandoned. Large quantities of the ore had been formerly raised at this mine, which was pursued into a deep fissure of the limestone rock. I descended into this fissure, and found among the rubbish and vein stones, large elongated and orbicular masses of calc spar, the outer surfaces of which bore strong marks of geological abrasion. They broke into rhombs very transparent, and of a honey-yellow colour. Mr. Elliot, the intelligent proprietor of this mine, represented the indications of ore to have been flattering, although every thing was now at a stand. Masses of sulphuret of zinc, in the form of blende, were noticed at this locality. Mr. Elliot invited me to dine, and he filled up the time with interesting local reminiscences. He stated, among other facts, that a copious spring, at these mines, dried up during the remarkable earthquakes of 1812. These earthquakes appear to have discharged their shocks in the direction of the stratification from the southwest to the northeast, but they spent their force west of the Mississippi. Their chief violence was at Natchitoches and New Madrid, at the latter of which they destroyed an immense area of alluvial land. Their effects in the Ohio valley, lying exactly in the direction of their action, were slight. A Mr. Watkins, of Cincinnati, accompanied me on this examination, and rode back with me to Potosi.

On the 9th of August, I had dined with Samuel Perry, Esq., at Mine á Burton, one of the principal inhabitants of the county, and was passing the evening at Mr. Austin's, when Mr. and Mrs. Perry came suddenly in. They had hardly taken seats, when a rabble of persons with bells and horns surrounded the house, and kept up a tumult that would have done honor to one of the wildest festivals of St. Nicholas, headed by Brom Bones himself. This, we were told, was a Chiraviri. And what is a Chiraviri? I am not deep enough read in French local customs to give a satisfactory answer, but the custom is said to be one that the populace may indulge in, whenever a marriage has taken place in the village, which is not in exact accordance with their opinions of its propriety. I was, by this incident, in[Pg 38]formed of Mr. Perry's recent marriage, and should judge, moreover, that he had exercised both taste and judgment in his selection of a partner. The affair of the Chiraviri is said to have been got up by some spiteful persons.

Towards the middle of the month (12th,) I set out, accompanied by Mr. James B. Austin, on horseback, for Herculaneum, by the way of Hazel Run, a route displaying a more southerly section of the mine country than I had before seen. A ride on horseback over the mine hills, offers one of the most delightful prospects of picturesque sylvan beauty that can be well conceived of. The hills are, with a few exceptions, not precipitous enough to make the ride irksome. They rise in long and gentle swells, resembling those of the sea, in which the vessel is, by an easy motion, alternately at the top of liquid hills, or in the bottom of liquid vales. From these hills the prospect extends over a surface of heath-grass and prairie flowers, with an open growth of oaks, giving the whole country rather the aspect of a park than a wilderness. Occasionally a ridge of pine intervenes, and wherever there is a brook, the waters present the transparency of rock crystal. Sometimes a range of red clay hillocks, putting up rank shrubs and vines of species which were unknown before, indicates an abandoned digging or mine. Farms and farm houses were then few; and every traveller we met on horseback, had more or less the bearing of a country cavalier, with a fine horse, good equipments, perhaps holsters and pistols, sometimes a rifle, and always something of a military air, betokening manliness and independence. Wherever we stopped, and whoever we met on the way, there was evinced a courteous and hospitable disposition.

We did not leave Potosi till afternoon. It was a hot August day, and it was dusk before we entered the deep shady valley of Big River. Some delay arose in waiting for the ferryman to put us across the river, and it was nine o'clock in the evening when we reached Mr. Bryant's, at Hazel Run, where we were cordially received. Our host would not let us leave his house, next morning, till after breakfast. We rode to McCormick's, on the Platten, to dinner, and reached Herculaneum before sunset. The distance by this route from Potosi is forty-five miles, and the road, with the exception of a couple of miles, presented a wholly new section of the country.

The Mississippi was now low, displaying large portions of its margin, and exhibiting heavy deposits of mud and slime, which broke into cakes, as they dried in the sun. I know not whether these exhalations affected me, but I experienced a temporary illness for a few days during this visit. I recollect that we had, during this time, some severe and drenching rain storms, with vivid and copious lightning, and heavy pealing thunder. These drenching and rapid showers convert the brooks and rills of the mine country to perfect torrents, and this explains one cause of the wash[Pg 39]ing away and gullying of roads and streets, so remarkable on the west bank of the Mississippi. My illness induced me to give up returning on horseback; and I set out, on the 18th of the month, in a dearborn, accompanied by Mrs. Austin. On descending the long hill, near Donnell's, beyond the Joachim, the evening was so dark that I became sensible I must have got out of the road. I drove with the more care a few moments, and stopped. Requesting Mrs. Austin to hold the reins, I jumped out and explored the ground. I found myself in an abandoned, badly gullied track, which would have soon capsized the wagon; but leading the horse by the bridle, I slowly regained my position in the direct road and got down the hill, and reached the house without further accident. Next day we drove into Potosi by four o'clock in the afternoon. This was my second visit, and I now accepted a room and quarters for my collection, at their old homestead called Durham Hall.

From this period till the middle of September, I pursued with unremitting assiduity, the enquiry in hand, and by that time had made a cabinet collection, illustrating fully the mineralogy, and, to some extent, the geological structure of the country. I erected a small chemical furnace for assays. Some of the clays of the country were found to stand a high heat, and by tempering them with pulverized granite, consisting largely of feldspar, I obtained crucibles that answered every purpose. Some of the specimens of lead treated in the dry way, yielded from 75 to 82 per cent.

Accident threw in my way, on the 25th of August, a fact which led to the discovery of a primitive tract, on the southern borders of the mine country, the true geological relation of which to the surrounding secondary formations, formed at the outset rather a puzzle. I rode out on horseback on that day, with Mr. Stephen F. Austin, to Miller's, on the Mineral Fork, to observe a locality of manganese, and saw lying, near his mills, some large masses of red syenitic granite, which appeared to have been freshly blasted. He remarked that they were obtained on the St. Francis, and were found to be the best material at hand for millstones. On examination, the rock consisted almost exclusively of red feldspar and quartz. A little hornblende was present, but scarcely a trace of mica. This species of syenitic granite, large portions of which, viewed in the field, are complete syenite, and all of which is very barren of crystals, I have since found on the upper Mississippi, and throughout the northwestern regions above the secondary latitudes. The hint, however, was not lost. I took the first opportunity to visit the sources of the St. Francis: having obtained letters to a gentleman in that vicinity, I set out on horseback for that region, taking a stout pair of saddle-bags, to hold my collections. I passed through Murphy's and Cook's settlements, which are, at the present time, the central parts of St. Francis county. Mine a la Motte afforded some new facts in its mineralogical features. I first saw this red[Pg 40] syenite, in place, on Blackford's Fork. The westernmost limits of this ancient mine extends to within a mile or two of this primitive formation. The red clay formation extends to the granitic elevations, and conceals their junction with the newer rock. The nearest of the carboniferous series, in place, is on the banks of Rock Creek, at some miles' distance. It is there the crystalline sandstone. How far this primitive district of the St. Francis extends, has not been determined. The St. Francis and Grand rivers, both have their sources in it. It is probable the Ozaw Fork of the Merrimack comes from its western borders. Not less than twenty or thirty miles can be assigned for its north and south limits. The Iron mountain of Bellvieu is within it. The vicinity of the pass called the Narrows, appears to have been the locality of former volcanic action. A scene of ruder disruption, marked by the vast accumulation of broken rock, it would be difficult to find. Indeed the whole tract is one of high geological, as well as scenic interest. Had the observer of this scene been suddenly dropped down into one of the wildest, broken, primitive tracts of New England, or the north east angle of New York, he could not have found a field of higher physical attractions. Trap and greenstone constitute prominent tracts, and exist in the condition of dykes in the syenite, or feldspathique granite. I sought in vain for mica in the form of distinct plates. Some of the greenstone is handsomely porphorytic, and embraces green crystals of feldspar. Portions of this rock are sprinkled with masses of bright sulphuret of iron. Indeed iron in several of its forms abounds. By far the largest portion of it is in the shape of the micaceous oxyde. I searched, without success, for the irridescent specular variety, or Elba ore. In returning from this trip, I found Wolf river greatly swollen by rains, and had to swim it at much hazard, with my saddle-bags heavily laden with the results of my examination. It was dark when I reached the opposite bank: wet and tired I pushed for the only house in sight. As I came to it the doors stood open, the fences were down, a perfect air of desolation reigned around. There was no living being found; and the masses of yawning darkness exhibited by the untenanted rooms, seemed a fit residence for the genius of romance. Neither my horse nor myself were, however, in a temper or plight for an adventure of this kind, and the poor beast seemed as well pleased as I was, to push forward from so cheerless a spot. Four miles' riding through an untenanted forest, and a dark and blind road, brought us to a Mr. Murphy, the sponsor of Murphy's settlement.

[Pg 41]



A.D. 1818 AND 1819.



Very little, it is conceived, is necessary to enable the reader to determine the writer's position on the extreme south western frontiers, in the year 1818. He had spent the summer of that year in traversing the mine district, which extends along the right bank of the Mississippi, between the mouth of the Maromeg and the diluvial cliffs south of Cape Girardeau, extending west and south westward to the sources of the St. Francis. In these mineralogical rambles, which were pursued sometimes on foot, and sometimes on horseback, or wheels, he made acquaintance with many estimable men, amongst whom he may name the Austins, father and son, the late Col. Ashley, John Rice Jones, Esq., and many others who are still living, by all whom, his object in visiting the country was cordially approved and encouraged, at all times. He also became acquainted with practical miners, and persons of enterprize who were not only familiar with the settled frontiers, but who had occasionally penetrated beyond them, into the broad expanse of highlands, now geographically known under the term of, the Ozark Chain. Geologically considered, the mine country is but the eastern flanks of this chain, which extends flush to the banks of the Mississippi, and has its terminus in that elevated range of mural cliffs, which form so striking and often picturesque a display, between St. Genevieve and St. Louis. There was, at the time, a general apprehension felt and expressed, by hunters and others who had penetrated those wilds in quest of deer and buffalo, or of saltpetre-earth in the limestone caves, of the predatory tribe of the Osages,—a people who had for years enjoyed the bad reputation of being thieves and plunderers. All concurred, however, in the interesting character of the country extending in a general course, south-westwardly, from the junction of the Missouri with the Mississippi. He felt an ardent desire to penetrate this terra incognita. He could not learn that any exploratory journey had been made towards the Rocky Mountains, since the well known expeditions of Lewis and Clark, up the Missouri, and of Lieut. Pike, across the upper region of the Arkansas, to Santa Fe and Chihuahua. Breckenridge had[Pg 42] subsequently published an account of a trip to Council Bluffs.[2] But neither of these routes crossed the wide and mountainous tracts referred to, or gave any definite information respecting them. Viewed on the map, these routes formed the general exterior outlines, but they left the interior filling up to be supplied,—or, if supplied at all, it was too often with such vague phrases as these—"Here are salt mountains." "The —— is supposed to take its rise here." "Volcanic hills," and so forth. The geology of the country furnished no indications whatever of the probability of the latter remark. The kind of pseudo-pumice found floating down the Missouri, in high water, had been stated by Lewis and Clarke, to have a far more remote, and local origin. The description of rock salt, in mountain mass, had long been numbered by popular belief, among the fanciful creations of an exciting political era; and together with western volcanoes, had settled down among those antiquarian rumours, which hold up, as their prime item, the existence of the living mammoth "beyond the big lakes."

[2] The United States government, the very next year, 1819, sent out Col. Long to the Yellow Stone.

If the writer of the notes and journal which furnish these sketches, was not swayed by any particular theories of this nature, yet was he not free from the expectation of finding abundant materials, in the natural productions and scenery and incidents of the journey, to reward him amply for its perils. He had received from hunters several objects of the mineralogical and geological collection which he made, while living at Potosi, and Mine à Burton: from these wild borders, and, without pretending to estimate the force of each particular object which made up the sum of his motives, he resolved to organize an expedition, with all the means he could muster, and explore the region. The Austins, who had treated him with marked kindness and attention, from the hour of his first landing in Missouri, were then preparing to make their first movement into Texas, and held out to him a fine theatre for enterprise; but it was one not suited to his particular means or taste. He recoiled from the subtlety of the Spanish character; and is free to confess, that he deemed it a far more attractive latitude for the zea maize and the cotton plant, than for those pursuits which led him to prefer the more rugged eminences of the Ozarks. They, in the end, founded a republic, and he only made an adventurous journey.

Having thus recalled the era and the motive of the following sketches, the purport of these remarks is accomplished.

New York, 1844.

[Pg 43]


Things to be thought of before plunging into the woods—Composition of the party, and reasons why it was not more numerous—First night's encampment—Preliminaries—Sleep in a deserted Indian lodge—A singular variety of the Fox Squirrel—The Pack Horse escapes—Cross the elevation called the Pinery—Reach the outskirts of the settlements in the valley of the Fourche A'Courtois.

Whoever would venture into the wilderness, should provide himself with such articles of personal comfort or safety, as habits, forecast, or the particular object of pursuit or observation, require. Every one will think of arms and ammunition, but there are other things required to make life pleasant, or even tolerable in the woods. This, prior excursions had already taught me, but the lesson was repeated by those of greater experience. There were two persons who had agreed to go with me, and stick by me, to the end,—the one a native of Massachusetts, and the other, of Connecticut, both like myself, new in the field, and unacquainted with life in the woods. What they lacked in this art, they more than made up, I thought, in intelligence, enterprise and resource. The name of the first was Brigham. The other, I shall allude to, under the name of Enobitti. Some three or four other persons, natives of the region, had consented to go as hunters, or adventurers into a new field for emigration, but it so happened, that when all was ready—when every objection to the tour had been obviated, and every want supplied, and when my two eastern friends came on to the ground, these persons all quietly, and with an easy flow of reasons, backed out. In fact, my friend Brigham, was also obliged to relinquish the journey, after he had reached the point of rendezvous, i.e. Potosi. A residence on the American bottom, in Illinois, the prior summer, had exposed him to the malaria of that otherwise attractive agricultural area, and an intermittent fever, which he had thus contracted, forbade his venturing beyond the settlements. So that when the appointed day arrived, Enobitti and myself and my good landlord, Ficklin—a warm hearted Kentuckian, who had been a hunter and border spy in his youth, were all the persons I could number, and the latter, only went a short distance, out of the goodness of his heart, and love of forest adventure, to set us, as it were, on the way, and initiate us into some necessary forest arts. It was a bright balmy day,—the 6th of November, 1818. The leaves were rapidly falling from the trees, and strewed the road and made a musical rustling among the branches, as we passed the summits of the mine hills, which separated the valley of Mine á Burton from the next adjoining stream. The air had just enough of the autumn freshness in it, to make it inspiring; and we walked forward, with the double animation of health[Pg 44] and hope. As we passed through forests where the hickory abounded, the fox and grey squirrel were frequently seen preparing their winter's stores, and gave additional animation to the scene. It was early in the afternoon when we came into the valley of Bates' Creek—it was indeed but a few miles from our starting point, where our kind Mentor told us, it was best to encamp; for, in the first place, it was the only spot where we could obtain water for a long distance, and secondly, and more important than all, it was necessary that we should re-arrange the load of our pack horse, take a lesson in the art of encamping, and make some other preparations which were proper, before we plunged outright into the wilderness. This was excellent advice, and proper not only to novices, but even to the initiated in the woodsman's art. It is always an object, to make, by this initiatory movement, what is technically called a start.

I had purchased at Potosi, a horse—a low priced animal, rather old and bony, to carry our blankets, some light cooking utensils and a few other articles of necessity, and some provisions. He bore the not very appropriate name of "Butcher," whether from a former owner, or how acquired I know not, but he was not of a sanguinary temper, or at least, the only fighting propensity he ever evinced was to get back to Potosi, as quick as possible, for he ran off the very first night, and frequently, till we got quite far west, repeated the attempt. The poor beast seemed to know, instinctively; that he was going away from the land of corn fodder, and would have to sustain himself by picking up his meals out of sere-grass, often in stony places, or in some dense and vine-bound cane bottom, where his hind legs would often be bound fast by the green briar, while he reached forward in vain, to bite off a green leaf.

Here we took the first lesson in duly hobbling a horse—a very necessary lesson: for if not hobbled, he will stray away, and cause great detention in the morning, and if not well hobbled he will injure his legs. We found, near the banks of the stream, a deserted Indian lodge, which appeared susceptible, by a little effort, of affording us a very comfortable night's lodging, and would furthermore, should it rain, prove an effectual shelter. This arrangement we immediately set about: the horse was unpacked, his burden stowed in the lodge, the horse hobbled and belled, and a fire lit. While my companion arranged the details of the camp, and prepared to boil a cup of tea, I took my gun, and, with but little ado, shot a number of fine fox and grey squirrels—being the first fruits of our exertions in the chace. Among them, there was one of decidedly mongrel species. If not, the variety was peculiar. He had a grey body, and a red foxy tail, with the belly, nose, and tips of the ears black, thus uniting characteristics of three varieties. One or two of these were added to our supper, which we made with great satisfaction, and in due time spread out our blankets, and slept soundly till day break.

On sallying out, I found the horse was gone, and set out in pursuit of[Pg 45] him. Although his fore feet were tethered, so that he must lift up both together, he made his way back, in this jumping manner, to his former owner's door, in the village of Mine à Burton. He had not, however, kept the path, all the way, and losing his track after he got on the herbage, my ear caught the sound of a bell far to the left, which I took to be his, and followed. I pursued the sound of this bell, which was only heard now and then, till after crossing hill and dale, without deviation from the line of sound, I came out at a farm yard, four miles below Potosi; where I found the bell to be attached to the neck of a stately penned ox. The owner, (who knew me and the circumstance of my having set out on the expedition,) told me, that Butcher had reached the mines, and been sent back, by a son of his former owner, to my camp. I had nothing left, but to retrace my way to the same spot, where I found the fugitive, and sat down to a breakfast of tea, bread, ham and squirrel. The whole morning had been lost by this misadventure. It was ten o'clock before we got the animal packed and set forward.

Our second day's journey yielded but little to remark. We travelled diligently along a rough mountainous path, across a sterile tract called the Pinery. This tract is valuable only for its pine timber. It has neither farming land nor mineral wealth. Not a habitation of any kind was passed. We saw neither bird nor animal. The silence of desolation seemed to accompany us. It was a positive relief to the uniform sterility of the soil, and monotony of the prospect, to see at length, a valley before us. It was a branch of the Maromeg, or Merrimack, which is called by its original French term of Fourche á Courtois. We had travelled a distance of fourteen miles over these flinty eminences. The first signs of human habitation appeared in the form of enclosed fields. The sun sunk below the hills, as we entered this valley, and we soon had the glimpse of a dwelling. Some woodcock flew up as we hastened forward, and we were not long in waiting for our formal announcement in the loud and long continued barking of dogs. It required the stern commands of their master, before they slunk back and became quiet. It was a small log tenement of the usual construction on the frontiers, and afforded us the usual hospitality and ready accommodation. They gave us warm cakes of corn bread, and fine rich milk. We spread our blankets before an evening's fire, and enjoyed a good night's rest. Butcher here, I think, had his last meal of corn, and made no attempt to return. With the earliest streaks of day light, we re-adjusted his pack, and again set forward.

[Pg 46]


Reach a hunter's cabin on the outskirts of the wilderness—He agrees to accompany us—Enter the Ozark Hills—Encounter an encampment of the Delaware Indians—Character of the country—Its alpine air, and the purity of its waters.—Ascend to the source of the Merrimack—Reach a game country—Deserted by the hunter and guide, and abandoned to individual exertions in these arts.

Every joint labour, which proceeds on the theory, that each person engaged in it is to render some personal service, must, in order that it may go on pleasantly and succeed well, have a definite order, or rule of progress; and this is as requisite in a journey in the wilderness as any where else. Our rule was to lead the pack horse, and to take the compass and guide ahead, alternately, day by day. It was thought, I had the best art in striking and making a fire, and when we halted for the night, always did this, while my companion procured water and put it in a way to boil for tea. We carried tea, as being lighter and more easy to make than coffee. In this way we divided, as equally as possible, the daily routine of duties, and went on pleasantly. We had now reached the last settlement on the frontier, and after a couple of hours' walk, from our last place of lodging, we reached the last house, on the outer verge of the wilderness. It was a small, newly erected log hut, occupied by a hunter of the name of Roberts, and distant about 20 miles from, and south-west of Potosi. Our approach here was also heralded by dogs. Had we been wolves or panthers, creeping upon the premises at midnight, they could not have performed their duty more noisily. Truly this was a very primitive dwelling, and as recent in its structure as it was primitive. Large fallen trees lay about, just as the axeman had felled them, and partly consumed by fire. The effect of this partial burning had been only to render these huge trunks black and hideous. One of them lay in front of the cottage. In other places were to be seen deer skins stretched to dry; and deers' feet and antlers lay here and there. There was not a foot of land in cultivation. It was quite evident at first sight, that we had reached the dwelling of a border hunter, and not a tiller of the ground. But the owner was absent, as we learned from his wife, a spare, shrewd dark-skinned little woman, drest in buckskin, who issued from the door before we reached it, and welcomed us by the term of "Strangers." Although this is a western term, which supplies the place of the word "friend," in other sections of the union, and she herself seemed to be thoroughly a native of these latitudes, no Yankee could have been more inquisitive, in one particular department of enquiry, namely the department relative to the chace. She inquired our object—the course and distance we proposed to travel, and the general arrangements of horse-gear,[Pg 47] equipage, &c. She told us of the danger of encountering the Osages, and scrutinized our arms. Such an examination would indeed, for its thoroughness, have put a lad to his trumps, who had come prepared for his first quarter's examination at a country academy. She told us, con amore, that her husband would be back soon,—as soon indeed as we could get our breakfast, and that he would be glad to accompany us, as far as Ashley's Cave, or perhaps farther. This was an opportunity not to be slighted. We agreed to wait, and prepare our morning's meal, to which she contributed some well baked corn cakes. By this time, and before indeed we had been long there, Roberts came in. It is said that a hunter's life is a life of feasting or fasting. It appeared to be one of the latter seasons, with him. He had been out to scour the precincts, for a meat breakfast, but came home empty handed. He was desirous to go out in the direction we were steering, which he represented to abound in game, but feared to venture far alone, on account of the rascally Osages. He did not fear the Delawares, who were near by. He readily accepted our offer to accompany us as hunter. Roberts, like his forest help-mate, was clothed in deer skin. He was a rather chunky, stout, middle sized man, with a ruddy face, cunning features, and a bright unsteady eye. Such a fellow's final destination would not be a very equivocal matter, were he a resident of the broad neighbourhood of Sing Sing, or "sweet Auburn:" but here, he was a man that might, perhaps, be trusted on an occasion like this, and we, at any rate, were glad to have his services on the terms stipulated. Even while we were talking he began to clean his rifle, and adjust his leathern accoutrements: he then put several large cakes of corn bread in a sack, and in a very short time he brought a stout little horse out of a log pen, which served for a barn; and clapping an old saddle on his back and mounting him, with his rifle in one hand, said, "I am ready," and led off. We now had a guide, as well as a hunter, and threw this burden wholly on him. Our course lay up a long ridge of hard bound clay and chert soil, in the direction of the sources of the Marameg, or, as it is now universally called and written, Merrimack. After travelling about four miles we suddenly descended from an acclivity into a grassy, woodless valley, with a brisk clear stream winding through it, and several lodges of Indians planted on its borders. This, our guide told us, was the Ozaw Fork of the Merrimack, (in modern geographical parlance Ozark.) And here we found the descendants and remainder of that once powerful tribe of whom William Penn purchased the site of Philadelphia, and whose ancient dominion extended, at the earliest certain historical era, along the banks the Lennapihittuck, or Delaware river. Two of them were at home, it being a season of the year, and time of day, when the men are out hunting. Judging from peculiarity of features, manners and dress, it would seem to be impossible that any people, should have re[Pg 48]mained so long in contact with or juxtaposition to the European races and changed so little, in all that constitutes national and personal identity. Roberts looked with no very friendly eye upon these ancient lords of the forest, the whole sum of his philosophy and philanthropy being measured by the very tangible circle of prairie and forests, which narrowed his own hunting grounds. They were even then, deemed to have been injudiciously located, by intelligent persons in the west, and have long since removed to a permanent location, out of the corporate limits of the States and Territories, at the junction of the river Konga with the Missouri. I should have been pleased to have lengthened our short halt, but the word seemed with him and Enobitti to be "onward," and onward we pushed. We were now fairly in the Ozark chain—a wide and almost illimitable tract, of which it may be said, that the vallies only are susceptible of future cultivation. The intervening ridges and mountains are nearly destitute of forest, often perfectly so, and in almost all cases, sterile, and unfit for the plough. It is probable sheep might be raised on some of these eminences, which possess a sufficiency of soil to permit the grasses to be sown. Geologically, it has a basis of limestones, resting on sandstones. Unfortunately for its agricultural character, the surface has been covered with a foreign diluvium of red clay filled with chips of hornstone, chert and broken quartz, which make the soil hard and compact. Its trees are few and stunted; its grass coarse. In looking for the origin of such a soil, it seems probable to have resulted from broken down slates and shists on the upper Missouri and below the range of the Rocky Mountains, in which these broken and imbedded substances originally constituted veins. It is only in the vallies, and occasional plains, that a richer and more carbonaceous soil has accumulated. The purest springs, however, gush out of its hills; its atmosphere is fine and healthful, and it constitutes a theatre of Alpine attractions, which will probably render it, in future years, the resort of shepherds, lovers of mountain scenery, and valetudinarians. There is another remark to be made of the highland tracts of the Ozark range. They look, in their natural state, more sterile than they actually are, from the effects of autumnal fires. These fires, continued for ages by the natives, to clear the ground for hunting, have had the effect not only to curtail and destroy large vegetation, but all the carbonaceous particles of the top soil have been burned, leaving the surface in the autumn, rough, red, dry and hard. When a plough comes to be put into such a surface, it throws up quite a different soil; and the effects of light, and the sun's heat are often found, as I have noticed in other parts of the west, to produce a dark and comparatively rich soil.

We occupied the entire day in ascending and crossing the ridge of land, which divides the little valley of the Oza from that of the Merrimack. When getting near the latter, the soil exhibited traces of what appeared to be iron ore, but somewhat peculiar in its character, and of dark hue.[Pg 49] This soon revealed itself, in passing a short distance, in an abundant locality of black and coloured oxide of manganese—lying in masses in the arid soil. The Indian trail which we were pursuing led across the valley. We forded the river on foot. No encampments of Indians were found, nor any very recent traces of them; and we began to think that the accounts of Osage depredations and plundering, must be rather exaggerated. The river pours its transparent mountain waters over a wide bed of pebbles and small boulders, and, at this season, offered but little impediment to the horses or ourselves in crossing it. The sun was getting low, by the time we reached the opposite side of the valley, and we encamped on its borders, a mile or two above. Here we took due care of our horses, prepared our evening's meal, talked over the day's adventures, enjoyed ourselves sitting before our camp fire, with the wild wide creation before us and around, and then sank to a sound repose on our pallets.

Novices in the woodman's art, and raw in the business of travelling, our sleep was sounder and more death-like, than that of Roberts. His eye had shown a restlessness during the afternoon and evening. We were now in a game country, the deer and elk began to be frequently seen, and their fresh tracks across our path, denoted their abundance. During the night they ventured about our camp, so as to disturb the ears of the weary hunter, and indeed, my own. He got up and found both horses missing. Butcher's memory of Mine á Burton corn fodder had not deserted him, and he took the hunter's horse along with him. I jumped up, and accompanied him, in their pursuit. They were both overtaken about three miles back on the track, making all possible speed homeward, that their tethered fore legs would permit. We conducted them back, without disturbing my companion, and he then went out with his rifle, and quickly brought in a fine fat doe, for our breakfast. Each one cut fine pieces of steaks, and roasted for himself. We ate it with a little salt, and the remainder of the hunter's corn cakes, and finished the repast, with a pint cup each, of Enobitti's best tea. This turned out to be a finale meal with our Fourche à Courtois man, Roberts: for the rascal, a few hours afterwards, deserted us, and went back. Had he given any intimation of dissatisfaction, or a desire to return, we should have been in a measure prepared for it. It is probable his fears of the then prevalent bugbear of those frontiersmen, the Osages, were greater than our own. It is also probable, that he had no other idea whatever, in leaving the Fourche à Courtois, than to avail himself of our protection till he could get into a region where he could shoot deer enough in a single morning to load down his horse, with the choicest pieces, and lead him home. This the event, at least, rendered probable; and the fellow not only deserted us meanly, but he carried off my best new hunting knife, with scabbard and belt—a loss not easily repaired in such a place.

[Pg 50]To cloak his plan, he set out with us in the morning: it had rained a little, during the latter part of the night, and was lowering and dark all the morning. After travelling about ten miles, we left the Osage trail, which began to bear too far north-west, and struck through the woods in a south course, with the view of reaching Ashley's Cave on one of the head streams of the river currents. Soon after leaving this trail, Roberts, who was in advance on our left, about half a mile, fired at, and killed, a deer, and immediately re-loaded, pursued and fired again; telling us to continue on our course, as he, being on horseback, could easily overtake us. We neither heard nor saw more of him. Night overtook us near the banks of a small lake, or rather a series of little lakes or ponds, communicating with each other, where we encamped. After despatching our supper, and adjusting, in talk, the day's rather eventful incidents, and the morrow's plan of march, we committed ourselves to rest, but had not sunk into forgetfulness, when a pack of wolves set up their howl in our vicinity. We had been told that these animals will not approach near a fire, and are not to be dreaded in a country where deer abound. They follow the track of the hunter, to share such part of the carcass as he leaves, and it is their nature to herd together and run down this animal as their natural prey. We slept well, but it is worthy of notice, that on awaking about day break, the howling of the wolves was still heard, and at about the same distance. They had probably serenaded us all night. Our fire was nearly out; we felt some chilliness, and determined to rekindle it, and prepare our breakfast before setting forward. It was now certain, that Roberts was gone. Luckily he had not carried off our compass, for that would have been an accident fatal to the enterprise.

[Pg 51]


A deeper view of the Ozark Chain. Pass along the flanks of the highlands which send out the sources of the Black, Eleven points, Currents and Spring rivers. Reach a romantic glen of caves. Birds and animals seen. Saltpetre earth; stalactites. Cross the alpine summit of the western Ozarks. Source of the Gasconde river Accident in fording the Little Osage river.—Encamp on one of its tributaries.

It was found, as we began to bestir ourselves for wood to light our fire that we had reposed not far from a bevy of wild ducks, who had sought the grassy edge of the lake during the night, and with the first alarm betook themselves to flight. With not so ready a mode of locomotion, we followed their example, in due time, and also their course, which was south. At the distance of a couple of miles, we crossed a small stream, running south-east, which we judged to be the outlet of the small lakes referred to, and which is, probably the source of Black River, or the Eleven points. Our course led us in an opposite direction, and we soon found ourselves approaching the sterile hills which bound the romantic valley of the currents. There had been some traces of wheels, on the softer soil, which had been driven in this direction towards the saltpetre caves, but we completely lost them, as we came to and ascended these arid and rugged steeps. Some of these steeps rose into dizzy and romantic cliffs, surmounted with pines. We wound our way cautiously amongst them, to find some gorge and depression, through which we might enter the valley. For ourselves we should not have been so choice of a path, but we had a pack horse to lead, and should he be precipitated into a gulf, we must bid adieu to our camp equipage. Our arms and a single blanket, would be all we could carry. At length this summit was reached. The view was enchanting. A winding wooded valley, with its clear bright river, stretched along at the base of the summit. Rich masses of foliage, hung over the clear stream, and were reflected in its pellucid current, with a double beauty. The autumnal frost, which had rifled the highland trees of their clothing, appeared to have passed over this deeply secluded valley[Pg 52] with but little effect, and this effect, was only to highten the interest of the scene, by imparting to portions of its foliage, the liveliest orange and crimson tints. And this was rendered doubly attractive by the contrast. Behind us lay the bleak and barren hills, over which we had struggled, without a shade, or a brook, or even the simplest representative of the animal creation. For it is a truth, that during the heat of the day, both birds and quadrupeds betake themselves to the secluded shades of the streams and vallies. From these they sally out, into the plains, in quest of food at early dawn, and again just before night fall. All the rest of the day, the plains and highlands have assumed the silence of desolation. Evening began to approach as we cautiously picked our way down the cliffs, and the first thing we did, on reaching the stream was to take a hearty drink of its crystal treasure, and let our horse do the same. The next object was to seek a fording place—which was effected without difficulty. On mounting the southern bank, we again found the trail, lost in the morning, and pursued it with alacrity. It was my turn this day to be in advance, as guide, but the temptation of small game, as we went up the valley, drew me aside, while Enobitti proceeded to select a suitable spot for the night's encampment. It was dark when I rejoined him, with my squirrel and pigeon hunt. He had confined himself closely to the trail. It soon led him out of the valley, up a long brushy ridge, and then through an open elevated pine grove, which terminated abruptly in a perpendicular precipice. Separated from this, at some eight hundred yards distance, stood a counter precipice of limestone rock, fretted out, into pinnacles and massy walls, with dark openings, which gave the whole the resemblance of architectural ruins. The stream that ran between these cliffs, was small, and it lay so deep and well embrowned in the shades of evening, that it presented vividly from this elevation, a waving bright line on a dark surface. Into this deep dark terrific glen the path led, and here we lit our fire, hastily constructed a bush camp, and betook ourselves, after due ablutions in the little stream, to a night's repose. The sky became rapidly overcast, before we had finished our meal, and a night of intense darkness, threatening a tempest, set in. As we sat by our fire, its glare upon huge beetling points of overhanging rocks, gave the scene a wild and picturesque cast; and we anticipated returning daylight with an anxious wish to know and see our exact locality. By the restless tramping of our horse, and the tinkling of his bell, we knew that he had found but indifferent picking.

Daylight fulfilled the predictions of the evening. We had rain. It also revealed our position in this narrow, and romantic glen. A high wall of rocks, encompassed us on either hand, but they were not such as would have resulted in a volcanic country from a valley fissure. Narrow and deep as the glen was, it was at once apparent, that it was a valley of denudation, and had owed its existence to the wasting effects of the trifling[Pg 53] stream within it, carrying away, particle by particle, the matter loosened by rains and frosts, and mechanical attrition. The cliffs are exclusively calcareous, and piled up, mason like, in horizontal layers. One of the most striking pictures which they presented, was found in the great number, size and variety of caves, which opened into this calcareous formation. These caves are of all sizes, some of them very large, and not a few of them situated at elevations above the floor of the glen, which forbade access.

One of our first objects, after examining the neighbourhood, was to remove our baggage and location up the glen, into one of these caves, which at the distance of about a mile, promised us an effectual shelter from the inclemency of the storm. This done, we determined here to wait for settled weather, and explore the precincts. By far the most prominent object, among the caverns, was the one into which we had thus unceremoniously thrust ourselves. It had evidently been visited before, by persons in search of saltpetre earth. Efflorescences of nitric earth, were abundant in its fissures, and this salt was also present in masses of reddish diluvial earth, which lay in several places. The mouth of this cave presented a rude irregular arc, of which the extreme height was probably thirty feet, and the base line ninety. The floor of this orifice occurs, at an elevation of about forty feet above the stream. And this size is held for about two hundred feet, when it expands into a lofty dome, some eighty or ninety feet high, and perhaps, three hundred in diameter. In its centre a fine spring of water issues from the rock. From this dome several passages lead off in different directions.

One of these opens into the glen, at an inaccessible point, just below. Another runs back nearly at right angles with the mouth, putting out smaller passages, of not much importance, however, in its progress. So splendid and noble an entrance gave us the highest hopes of finding it but the vestibule of a natural labyrinth; but the result disappointed us. These ample dimensions soon contract, and after following the main or south passage about five hundred yards, we found our further entrance barred, by masses of fallen rock, at the foot of which a small stream trickled through the broken fragments, and found its way to the mouth. Have we good reason to attribute to this small stream, a power sufficient to be regarded as the effective agent in carrying away the calcareous rock, so as to have in a long period produced the orifice? Whence then, it may be asked, the masses of compact reddish clay and pebble diluvium, which exist? These seem rather to denote that these caves were open orifices, during the period of oceanic action, upon the surface of the Ozarks, and that a mass of waters, surcharged with such materials, flowed into pre-existing caverns. This diluvium is, in truth, of the same era as the wide spread stream of like kind, which has been deposited over the metalliferous region of Missouri. If these, however, be questions for geological doubt,[Pg 54] we had lit upon another inquiry, very prominent on our minds in making this exploration, namely, whether there were any wild beasts sheltered in its fissures. Satisfied that we were safe on this score, we retraced our footsteps to our fire, and sallied out to visit other caves. Most of these were at such heights as prevented access to them. In one instance, a tree had fallen against the face of the cliff, in such a manner, that by climbing it to its forks, and taking one of the latter, the opening might be reached. Putting a small mineral hammer in my pocket, I ascended this tree, and found the cave accessible. It yielded some wax-yellow and white translucent stalactites, and also very delicate white crystals of nitre. The dimensions of this cave were small, and but little higher than to enable a man to stand upright.

In each of the caves of this glen which I entered, during a halt of several days in this vicinity, I looked closely about for fossil bones, but without success in any instance. The only article of this kind observed was the recent leg and foot bones and vertebra of the bos musarius, which appeared to be an inhabitant of the uppermost fissures in these calcareous cliffs, but I never saw the living species, although I ranged along their summits and bases, with my gun and hammer, at various hours. Some of the compact limestone in the bed of the creek exhibited a striped and jaspery texture. The wood-duck and the duck and mallard sometimes frequented this secluded stream, and it was a common resort for the wild turkey, at a certain hour in the evening. This bird seemed at such times to come in thirsty, from its ranges in quest of acorns on the uplands, and its sole object appeared to be to drink. Sitting in the mouth of our cave, we often had a fine opportunity to see flocks of these noisy and fine birds flying down from the cliffs, and perching on the trees below us. If they came to roost, as well as to slack their thirst, a supposition probable, this was an ill-timed movement, so long as we inhabited the glen, for they only escaped the claw and talons of one enemy, to fall before the fire-lock of the other. This bird, indeed, proved our best resource on the journey, for we travelled with too much noise and want of precaution generally, to kill the deer and elk, which, however, were abundant on the highland plains.

We passed three days at the Glen Cave, during which there were several rains; it stormed one entire day, and we employed the time of this confinement, in preparing for the more intricate and unknown parts of our journey. Hitherto we had pursued for the most of the way, a trail, and were cheered on our way, by sometimes observing traces of human labour. But, from this point we were to plunge into a perfect wilderness, without a trace or track. We had before us, that portion of the Ozark range, which separates to the right and left, the waters of the Missouri from those of the Mississippi. It was supposed, from the best reports, that by holding south-west, across these eminences, we should strike the valley[Pg 55] of the White River, which interposed itself between our position there and the Arkansas. To enter upon this tract, with our compass only as a guide, and with the certainty of finding no nutritious grass for our horse, required that we should lighten and curtail our baggage as much as possible, and put all our effects into the most compact and portable form. And having done this, and the weather proving settled, we followed a short distance up the Glen of Caves; but finding it to lead too directly west, we soon left it and mounted the hills which line its southern border. A number of latter valleys, covered with thick brush, made this a labour by no means slight. The surface was rough; vegetation sere and dry, and every thicket which spread before us, presented an obstacle which was to be overcome. We could have penetrated many of these, which the horse could not be forced through. Such parts of our clothing as did not consist of buckskin, paid frequent tribute to these brambles. At length we got clear of these spurs, and entered on a high waving table land where travelling became comparatively easy. The first view of this vista of high land plains was magnificent. It was covered with moderate sized sere grass and dry seed pods, which rustled as we passed. There was scarcely an object deserving the name of a tree, except, now and then, a solitary trunk of a dead pine, or oak, which had been scathed by lightning. The bleached skull of the buffalo, was sometimes met, and proved that this animal had once existed here. Rarely we passed a stunted oak; sometimes a cluster of saplings crowned the summit of a sloping hill; the deer often bounded before us; we sometimes disturbed the hare from its sheltering bush, or put to flight the quail or the prairie hen. There was no prominent feature for the eye to rest upon. The unvaried prospect produced satiety. We felt in a peculiar manner the solitariness of the wilderness. We travelled silently and diligently. It was a dry and thirsty barren. From morning till sun set we did not encounter a drop of water. This became the absorbing object. Hill after hill, and vale after vale were patiently scanned, and diligently footed, without bringing the expected boon. At length we came, without the expectation of it, to a small running stream in the plain, where we gladly encamped. There was also some grass which preserved a greenish hue, and which enabled our horse also to recruit himself.

Early the next morning we repacked him, and continued our course, travelling due west south-west. At the distance of five or six miles, we reached the banks of a clear stream of twenty feet wide, running over a bed of pebbles and small secondary boulders. This stream ran towards the north west, and gave us the first intimation we had, that we had crossed the summit and were on the off drain of the Missouri. We supposed it to be the source of the Gasconade, or at farthest some eastern tributary of the Little Osage.

A few hours travelling brought us to the banks of another stream of[Pg 56] much larger size and depth, but running in the same direction. This stream we found it difficult to cross, and spent several hours in heaping piles of stone, and connecting them with dry limbs of trees, which had been carried down by floods. It had a rapid and deep current, on each side of which was a wide space of shallow water and rolled boulders of lime and sand stone. We succeeded in driving the horse safely over. Enobitti led the way on our frail bridge-work, but disturbed the last link of it as he jumped off on the south bank, so that it turned under my tread and let me in. There was no kind of danger in the fall as it was in the shallow part of the stream, but putting out my hands to break the fall, it so happened that my whole weight rested on my gun, which was supported on two stones, merely on its butt and muzzle; the effect was to wrench the barrel. I gave it a counter wrench as soon as we encamped, but I never afterwards could place full confidence in it. We had not gone over three or four miles beyond this river, when we came to the banks of a third stream, running west, but also sweeping off below, towards the northwest. This stream was smaller than the former and opposed no difficulty in fording it. Having done this we followed it up a short distance, and encamped on its south banks.

[Pg 57]


Hearsay information of the hunters turns out false—We alter our course—A bear hunt—An accident—Another rencontre with bears—Strike the source of the Great North Fork of White River—Journey down this valley—Its character and productions—A great Spring—Incidents of the route—Pack horse rolls down a precipice—Plunges in the river—A cavern—Osage lodges—A hunter's hut.

It was now manifest, from our crossing the last two streams, that we were going too far north—that we were in fact in the valley of the Missouri proper; and that the information obtained of the hunters on the source of the Merrimack, was not to be implicitly relied on. It is not probable that one of the persons who gave this information had ever been here. It was a region they were kept out of by the fear of the Osages, as our own experience in the case of Roberts denoted. Willing to test it farther, however, we followed down the last named stream a few miles, in the hope of its turning south or south-west, but it went off in another direction. We then came to a halt, and after consulting together, steered our course due south south-west, thus varying our general course from the caves. This carried us up a long range of wooded highlands. The forest here assumed a handsome growth. We passed through a track of the over-cup oak, interspersed with hickory, and had reached the summit of an elevated wooded ridge, when just as we gained the highest point, we discovered four bears on a large oak, in the valley before us. Three of the number were probably cubs, and with their dam, they were regaling themselves on the ripe acorns without observing us. We had sought no opportunities to hunt, and given up no especial time to it, but here was too fair a challenge to be neglected. We tied our horse securely to a sapling, and then examining our pieces, and putting down an extra ball, set out to descend the hill as cautiously as possible. An unlucky slip of Enobitti threw him with force forward and sprained his ankle. He lay for a short time in agony. This noise alarmed the bears, who one after the other quickly ran in from the extremities of the limbs to the trunk, which they descended[Pg 58] head first, and scampered clumsily off up the valley. I pursued them without minding my companion, not knowing, indeed how badly he was hurt, but was compelled to give up the chase, as the tall grass finally prevented my seeing what course they had taken. I now returned to my companion. He could not stand at first, nor walk when he arose, and the first agony had passed. I proposed to mount him on the pack horse, and lead him slowly up the valley, and this plan was carried into effect. But he endured too much suffering to bear even this. The ankle began to inflame. There was nothing but rest and continued repose that promised relief. I selected a fine grassy spot to encamp, unpacked the horse, built a fire, and got my patient comfortably stretched on his pallet. But little provision had been made at Potosi in the medical department. My whole store of pharmacy consisted of some pills and salves, and a few simple articles. The only thing I could think of as likely to be serviceable, was in our culinary pack,—it was a little sack of salt, and of this I made a solution in warm water and bathed the ankle. I then replenished the fire and cut some wood to renew it. It was still early in the day, and leaving my companion to rest, and to the effect of the remedy offered, I took my gun and strolled over the adjoining hills, in hopes of bringing in some pigeons, or other small game. But it was a time of day when both birds and quadrupeds have finished their mornings repast, and retired to the groves or fastnesses. I saw nothing but the little grey bunting, and the noisy jay. When I returned to our camp in the vale I found my companion easier. The bathing had sensibly alleviated the pain and swelling. It was therefore diligently renewed, and the next morning he was so far improved, that he consented to try the pack horse again. We had not, however, travelled far, when two large bears were seen before us playing in the grass, and so engaged in their sport, that they did not perceive us. We were now on the same level with them, and quickly prepared to give them battle. My companion dismounted as easily as possible, and having secured the horse and examined our arms, we reached a stand within firing distance. It was not till this moment that our approach was discovered by them, and the first thing they did after running a few yards, was to sit up in the grass and gaze at us. Having each singled his animal, we fired at the same instant. Both animals fled, but on reaching the spot where my mark had sat, blood was copiously found on the grass, and a pursuit was the consequence. I followed him up a long ridge, but he passed over the summit so far before me, that I lost sight of him. I came to a large hollow black oak, in the direction he had disappeared, which showed the nail marks of some animal, which I believed to be his. While examining these signs more closely my companion made his appearance. How he had got there I know not. The excitement had well nigh cured his ancle. He stood by the orifice, while I went for the axe to our camp, and when I was tired chopping, he laid hold.[Pg 59] We chopped alternately, and big as it was, the tree at last came down with a crash that made the forest ring. For a few moments we looked at the huge and partly broken trunk as if a bear would start from it; but all was silence. We thoroughly searched the hollow part but found nothing. I went over another ridge of forest land, started a noble elk, but saw nothing more of my bear. Here terminated this adventure. We retraced our footsteps back to the valley, and proceeded on our route. This incident had led us a little south of our true course; and it so turned out that it was at a point, where a mile or two one way or the other, was calculated to make a wide difference in the place of our exit into the valley of White River; for we were on a high broken summit ridge, from which several important streams originated. The pursuit of the bear had carried us near to the head of the valley, and by crossing the intervening summit, we found ourselves at the head springs of an important stream, which in due time we learned was the Great North Fork of White River. This stream begins to develope itself in pools, or standing springs, which soak through the gravel and boulders, and it is many miles before it assumes the character of a continuous stream. Even then it proceeds in plateaux or steps, on which the water has a level, and the next succeeding level below it has its connection with it, through a rapid. In fact, the whole stream, till near its mouth, is one series of these lake-like levels, and short rapids, each level sinking lower and lower, till, like the locks in a canal, the last flows out on a level with its final recipient. But however its waters are congregated, they are all pure and colourless as rock crystal, and well vindicate the propriety of their original name of la Rivière Blanc. They all originate in mountain springs, are cool and sparkling, and give assurance in this feature, that they will carry health to the future inhabitants of the valley through which they flow. With the first springs begins to be seen a small growth of the cane, which is found a constant species on its bottom lands. This plant becomes high in more southern latitudes, and being intertwined with the green briar, renders it very difficult, as we soon found, to penetrate it, especially with a horse. Man can endure a thousand adventures and hardships where a horse would die; and it would require no further testimony than this journey gave, to convince me, that providence designed the horse for a state of civilization.

We followed the course of these waters about six miles, and encamped. It was evidently the source of a stream of some note. It ran in the required direction, and although we did not then know, that it was the valley of the Great North Fork of White River, we were satisfied it was a tributary of the latter stream, and determined to pursue it. This we did for twelve days, before we met with a human being, white or red. It rapidly developed itself, as we went, and unfolded an important valley, of rich soil, bearing a vigorous growth of forest trees, and enclosed on either hand, by elevated limestone cliffs. Nothing could exceed the purity of[Pg 60] its waters, which bubbled up in copious springs, from the rock, or pebble stratum. For a long distance the stream increased from such accessions alone, without large and independent tributaries. On the second day's travel, we came to a spring, of this crystal character, which we judged to be about fifty feet across, at the point of its issue from the rock and soil. Its outlet after running about a thousand yards, joined the main stream, to which it brings a volume fully equal to it. This spring I named the Elk Spring, from the circumstance of finding a large pair of the horns of this animal, partly buried in the leaves, at a spot where I stooped down to drink. I took the horns, and hung them in the forks of a young oak tree.

We found abundance of game in this valley. There was not an entire day, I think, until we got near the hunters' camps, that we did not see either the bear, elk, or deer, or their recent signs. Flocks of the wild turkey were of daily occurrence. The gray squirrel frequently sported on the trees, and as the stream increased in size, we found the duck, brant and swan.

There were two serious objections, however, in travelling down a wooded valley. Its shrubbery was so thick and rank that it was next to impossible to force the pack horse through it. Wherever the cane abounds, and this comprehends all its true alluvions, it is found to be matted together, as it were, with the green briar and grape vine. So much noise attended the effort at any rate, that the game generally fled before us, and had it not been for small game, we should have often wanted a meal. With every effort, we could not make an average of more than fourteen miles a day. The river was so tortuous too, that we could not count, on making more than half this distance, in a direct line. To remedy these evils we sometimes went out of the valley, on the open naked plains. It was a relief, but had, in the end, these difficulties, that while the plains exposed us to greater heats in travelling, they afforded no water, and we often lost much time in the necessity, we were under, towards night-fall, of going back to the valley for water. Neither was it found to be safe to travel far separated, for there were many causes of accident, which rendered mutual assistance desirable. One day, while Enobitti led the horse, and was conducting him from a lofty ridge, to get into the valley, the animal stumbled, and rolled to the bottom. We thought every bone in his body had been broke, but he had been protected by his pack, and we found that he was but little injured, and when repacked, still capable of going forward. On another occasion, I had been leading him for several hours, along a high terrace of cliffs on the left banks where this terrace was, as it were, suddenly cut off by the intersection of a lateral valley. The view was a sublime one, standing at the pinnacle of junction; but there was no possible way of descent, and it was necessary to retrace my steps, a long—long way. As an instance of the very[Pg 61] tortuous character of this stream, I will mention that a rocky peninsula, causing a bend which it took my companion some two hours to pass, with the horse, I had crossed in less than twenty minutes, with my hammer and gun. When we had, as we supposed, become familiar with every species of impediment and delay, in descending the valley, a new, and very serious and unexpected one, arose one day, in crossing the stream, from the left to the right bank. It was my turn to be muleteer that day, and I had selected a ford where the river was not wide, and the water, apparently, some two or three feet deep. I judged from the clearness of the pebbles at the bottom, and their apparent nearness to the surface. But such was the transparency of the water, that a wide mistake was made. We had nearly lost the horse, he plunged in over head, could not touch bottom, and when with great ado, we had got him up the steep bank on the other side, he was completely exhausted. But this was not the extent of the evil. Our sugar and salt were dissolved. Our meal, of which a little still remained, was spoiled. Our tea was damaged,—our blankets and clothing wetted,—our whole pack soaked. The horse had been so long in the water, in our often fruitless efforts to get him to some part of the bank depressed enough, to pull him up, that nothing had escaped its effects. We encamped on the spot, and spent the rest of the day in drying our effects, and expelling from our spare garments the superfluous moisture.

The next day we struck out into the high plains, on the right bank, and made a good day's journey. The country was nearly level, denuded of trees, with sere autumnal grass. Often the prairie hen started up, but we saw nothing in the animal creation beside, save a few hares, as evening came on. To find water for the horse, and ourselves, we were again compelled to approach the valley. We at length entered a dry and desolate gorge, without grass or water. Night came on, but no sound or sight of water occurred. We were sinking deeper and deeper into the rocky structure of the country at every step, and soon found there were high cliffs on either side of us. What we most feared now occurred. It became dark, the clouds had threatened foul weather and it now began to rain. Had it not been for a cavern, which disclosed itself, in one of these calcareous cliffs, we must have passed a miserable night. On entering it, we found a spring of water. It was too high in the cliff to get the horse in, but we carried him water in a vessel. He was afterwards hobbled, and left to shift for himself. On striking a fire, in the cave, its rays disclosed masses of stalactites, and a dark avenue into the rocks back. Having made a cup of tea and finished our repast, we determined to explore the cave before lying down to rest, lest we might be intruded on by some wild animal before morning. A torch of pine wood was soon made, which guided our footsteps into the dismal recess, but we found nothing of the kind. On returning to our fire, near the mouth of the cave, we found the rain had increased to a heavy shower, and the vivid flashes of[Pg 62] lightning, illumined with momentary brilliancy, the dark and frowning precipices of this romantic gorge. The excitement and novelty of our position, served to drive away sleep, notwithstanding a long day's march, and it was late before we sought repose.

Morning brought a clear sky, but the horse was gone. He had followed on the back track, up the glen, in search of something to feed upon, and was not found till we reached the skirts of the plains. The whole morning was indeed, lost in reclaiming him, and we then set forward again and returned to the North Fork valley. We found it had assumed a greater expanse, at the point of our re-entry, which it maintained, and increased, as we pursued it down. Wide open oak plains extended on the left bank, which appeared very eligible for the purposes of settlement. On an oak tree, at this spot, we observed some marks, which had probably been made by some enterprising land explorer. With these improved evidences of its character for future occupation, we found the travelling easier. Within a few miles travel, we noticed a tributary coming in on the left bank, and at a lower point another on the left. The first stream had this peculiarity, that its waters came in at a right angle, with the parent stream, and with such velocity as to pass directly across its channel to the opposite bank. In this vicinity, we saw many of the deserted pole camps of the Osages, none of which appeared, however, to have been recently occupied. So far, indeed, we had met no hindrance, or annoyance from this people; we had not even encountered a single member of the tribe, and felt assured that the accounts we had received of their cruelty and rapacity, had been grossly exaggerated, or if not wholly overcoloured, they must have related to a period in their history, which was now well nigh past. We could not learn that they had hunted on these lands, during late years, and were afterwards given to understand that they had ceded them to the United States by a treaty concluded at St. Louis. From whatever causes, however, the district had been left free from their roving parties, it was certain that the game had recovered under such a cessation of the chase. The black bear, deer and elk, were abundant. We also frequently saw signs of the labours of the beaver along the valley. I had the good luck, one day, while in advance with my gun, of beholding two of these animals, at play in the stream, and observing their graceful motions. My position was, within point blank shot of them, but I was screened from their gaze. I sat, with gun cocked, meaning to secure one of them after they came to the shore. Both animals came out together, and sat on the bank at the edge of the river, a ledge of rocks being in the rear of them. The novelty of the sight led me to pause, and admire them, when, all of a sudden, they darted into a crevice in the rock.

On the second day after re-entering the valley, we descried, on descending a long slope of rising ground, a hunter's cabin, covered with narrow[Pg 63] oak boards, split with a frow; and were exhilarated with the idea of finding it occupied. But this turned out a delusive hope. It had been deserted, from appearance, the year before. We found, among the surrounding weeds, a few stems of the cotton plant, which had grown up from seeds, accidentally dropped. The bolls had opened. I picked out the cotton to serve as a material in lighting my camp fires, at night, this being a labour which I had taken the exclusive management of. The site of this camp, had been well chosen. There was a small stream in front, and a heavy rich cane bottom behind it, extending to the banks of the river. A handsome point of woodlands extended north of it, from the immediate door of the camp. And although somewhat early in the day, we determined to encamp, and soon made ourselves masters of the fabric, and sat down before a cheerful fire, with a title to occupancy, which there was no one to dispute.


A swain, as he strayed through the grove,
Had caught a young bird on a spray—
What a gift, he exclaimed, for my love,
How beautiful, charming, and gay.
With rapture he viewed the fair prize,
And listened with joy to its chat,
As with haste to the meadow he hies
To secure it beneath his straw hat.
I will make of yon willows so gay,
A cage for my prisoner to mourn,
Then to Delia, the gift I'll convey,
And beg for a kiss in return.
She will grant me that one, I am sure,
For a present so rare and so gay,
And I easily can steal a few more
And bear them enraptured away.
He returned: but imagine his grief,
The wind had his hat overthrown,
And the bird, in the joy of relief,
Away with his kisses had flown.

[Pg 64]



Inquiry I.—What kind of a being is the North American Indian?—Have we judged rightly of him?—What are his peculiar traits, his affections, and his intellectual qualities?—Is he much influenced by his religion, his mode of government, and his complicated language.

My earliest impressions of the Indian race, were drawn from the fire-side rehearsals of incidents which had happened during the perilous times of the American revolution; in which my father was a zealous actor, and were all inseparably connected with the fearful ideas of the Indian yell, the tomahawk, the scalping knife, and the fire brand. In these recitals, the Indian was depicted as the very impersonation of evil—a sort of wild demon, who delighted in nothing so much as blood and murder. Whether he had mind, was governed by any reasons, or even had any soul, nobody inquired, and nobody cared. It was always represented as a meritorious act in old revolutionary reminiscences, to have killed one of them in the border wars, and thus aided in ridding the land of a cruel and unnatural race, in whom all feelings of pity, justice, and mercy, were supposed to be obliterated. These early ideas were sustained by printed narratives of captivity and hair-breadth escapes of men and women from their clutches, which, from time to time, fell into my hands, so that long before I was ten years old, I had a most definite and terrific idea impressed on my imagination of what was sometimes called in my native precincts, "the bow and arrow race."

To give a definite conception of the Indian man, there lived in my native valley, a family of Indians of the Iroquois stock, who often went off[Pg 65] to their people in the west, and as often returned again, as if they were a troop of genii, or the ghosts of the departed, who came to haunt the nut wood forests, and sub-vallies of the sylvan Tawasenthaw, which their ancestors had formerly possessed, and to which they still claimed some right. In this family, which was of the Oneida tribe, and consisted of the husband and wife, with two grown up sons, I first saw those characteristic features of the race,—namely, a red skin, with bright black eyes, and black straight hair. They were mild and docile in their deportment, and were on friendly terms with the whole settlement, whom they furnished with neatly made baskets of the linden wood, split very thin, and coloured to impart variety, and with nice ash brooms. These fabrics made them welcome guests with every good housewife, who had forgotten the horrific stories of the revolution, and who was ever ready to give a chair and a plate, and a lodging place by the kitchen fire, to poor old Isaac and Anna, for so they had been named. What their original names were, nobody knew; they had lived so long in the valley that they spoke the Dutch language, and never made use of their own, except when talking together; and I recollect, we thought it a matter of wonder, when they discoursed in Indian, whether such a guttural jargon, could possibly be the medium of conveying any very definite ideas. It seemed to be one undistinguished tissue of hard sounds, blending all parts of speech together.

Had the boys of my own age, and I may say, the grown people, stopped to reflect, and been led to consider this family and their race in America, independently of their gross acts, under the strong excitements of war and revenge, goaded by wrongs, and led on by the class of revolutionary tories, more implacable than even themselves, we must have seen, in the peaceable lives, quiet manners, and benevolent dispositions of these four people, a contradiction to, at least, some part, of the sweeping conclusions above noticed. But no such thoughts occurred. The word "Indian," was synonymous then, as perhaps now, with half the opprobrious epithets in the dictionary. I recollect to have myself made a few lines, in early life, on the subject, which ran thus:—

Indians they were, ere Colon crossed the sea,
And ages hence, they shall but Indians be.

Fortunately I was still young when my sphere of observation was enlarged, by seeing masses of them, in their native forests; and I, after a few years, assumed a position as government agent to one of the leading tribes, at an age when opinions are not too firmly rooted to permit change. My opinions were still, very much however, what they had been in boyhood. I looked upon them as very cannibals and blood-thirsty fellows, who were only waiting a good opportunity to knock one in the head. But I regarded them as a curious subject of observation. The remembrance of poor old Isaac, had shown me that there was some feeling and humanity in their[Pg 66] breasts. I had seen many of them in my travels in the west, and I felt inclined to inquire into the traits of a people, among whom my duties had placed me. I had, from early youth, felt pleased with the study of natural history, and I thought the Indian, at least in his languages, might be studied with something of the same mode of exactitude. I had a strong propensity, at this time of life, for analysis, and I believed that something like an analytical process might be applied to enquiries, at least in the department of philology. Whenever a fact occurred, in the progress of my official duties, which I deemed characteristic, I made note of it, and in this way preserved a sort of skeleton of dates and events, which, it was believed, would be a source of useful future reference. It is, in truth, under advantages of the kind, that these remarks are commenced.

The author has thrown out these remarks, as a starting point. He has made observations which do not, in all respects, coincide with the commonly received opinions, and drawn some conclusions which are directly adverse to them. He has been placed in scenes and circumstances of varied interest, and met with many characters, in the course of four and twenty years' residence and travel in the wilds of America, who would have struck any observer as original and interesting. With numbers of them, he has formed an intimate acquaintance, and with not a few, contracted lasting friendships. Connected with them by a long residence, by the exercise of official duties, and by still more delicate and sacred ties, he has been regarded by them as one identified with their history, and received many marks of their confidence.

The Indians, viewed as a distinct branch of the human race, have some peculiar traits and institutions, from which their history and character may be advantageously studied. They hold some opinions, which are not easily discovered by a stranger, or a foreigner, but which yet exert a powerful influence on their conduct and life. There is a subtlety in some of their modes of thought and belief, on life and the existence of spiritual and creative power, which would seem to have been eliminated from some intellectual crucible, without the limits of their present sphere. Yet, there is much relative to all the common concerns of life, which is peculiar to it. The author has witnessed many practices and observances, such as travellers have often noticed, but like others, attributed them to accident, or to some cause widely different from the true one. By degrees, he has been admitted into their opinions, and if we may so call it, the philosophy of their minds; and the life of an Indian no longer appears to him a mystery. He sees him acting, as other men would act, if placed exactly in his condition, prepared with the education the forest has given him, and surrounded with the same wants, temptations and dangers.

The gentler affections are in much more extensive and powerful exercise among the Indian race, than is generally believed, although necessarily developed with less refinement than in civilized society. Their pater[Pg 67]nal and fraternal affections, have long been known to be very strong, as well as their veneration for the dead. It has been his province in these departments, to add some striking examples of their intensity of feeling and affection, and truthfulness to nature.

The most powerful source of influence, with the Red man, is his religion. Here is the true groundwork of his hopes and his fears, and, it is believed, the fruitful source of his opinions and actions. It supplies the system of thought by which he lives and dies, and it constitutes, indeed, the basis of Indian character. By it he preserves his identity, as a barbarian, and when this is taken away, and the true system substituted, he is still a Red Man, but no longer, in the popular sense, an Indian—a barbarian, a pagan.

The Indian religion is a peculiar compound of rites, and doctrines, and observances, which are early taught the children by precept and example. In this respect, every bark-built village is a temple, and every forest a school. It would surprise any person to become acquainted with the variety and extent to which an Indian is influenced by his religious views and superstitions. He takes no important step without reference to it. It is his guiding motive in peace and in war. He follows the chace under its influence, and his very amusements take their tincture from it. To the author, the facts have been developing themselves for many years, and while he is able to account for the peculiar differences between the conduct of Indians and that of white men, in given cases, he can easily perceive, why the latter have so often been unable to calculate the actions of the former, and even to account for them, when they have taken place. It may be here remarked, that the civilized man, is no less a mysterious and unaccountable being to an Indian, because his springs of action are alike unintelligible to him.

If the following pages shall afford the public any means of judging of the Red Race, with greater accuracy, he hopes they may lead to our treating them with greater kindness and a more enlarged spirit of justice. The change which has been wrought in his own mind, by the facts he has witnessed, has been accompanied by a still more important one, as to their intellectual capacities and moral susceptibilities, and their consequent claims on the philanthropy of the age. As a class of men, it is thought their native speakers, without letters or education, possess a higher scope of thought and illustration, than the corresponding class in civilized life. This may be accounted for, perhaps, from obvious external causes, without impugning the actual native capacity of the lower, although educated classes of civilized life. Still, it is a very striking fact, and one which has very often forced itself on the attention of the author. The old idea that the Indian mind is not susceptible of a high, or an advantageous developement, rests upon questionable data. The two principal causes, which have prolonged their continuance in a state of barbarism, on this continent,[Pg 68] for so long a period, are a false religion, and false views of government. The first has kept back social prosperity and impeded the rise of virtue. With respect to government, during all the time we have had them for neighbours, they may be said to have had no government at all. Personal independence, has kept the petty chiefs from forming confederacies for the common good. Individuals have surrendered no part of their original private rights, to secure the observance of the rest. There has been no public social organization, expressed or implied. The consequence has been that the law of private redress and revenge prevailed. In the only two cases where this system was departed from, in North America, namely that of the Azteek empire, and of the Iroquois confederacy, there was no lack of vigour to improve. The results were a constantly increasing power, and extending degree of knowledge up to the respective eras of their conquest. It was not want of mental capacity, so much as the non-existence of moral power, and of the doctrines of truth and virtue, that kept them back; and left our own wandering tribes, particularly, with the bow and the spear in their hands. He believes, that their errors, in these particulars, may be pointed out, without drawing conclusions adverse to their political or social prosperity, under better auspices, and without attributing such failures to mental imbecility.

The mode of recording thought, among these tribes, by means of pictorial signs, and mnemonic symbols, has attracted particular attention, and gives the author hopes, that he has been enabled to collect, and bring forward, a body of facts, in this department, which will recommend themselves by their interest and novelty. Confidence, inspired by long residence in their territories, revealed to him another trait of character, in the existence among them of a traditionary imaginative lore, which is repeated from father to son, and has no small influence upon their social condition. It is in these two departments, that, he believes, he has opened new and important means of judging of the Indian character, and discovered the sources of views and opinions, on many subjects, which had escaped previous inquirers.

There is one more point, to-which he will here invite a momentary attention, and which, although not usually enumerated as among the practical causes that influenced Indian society and character, is yet believed to exercise a strong, though silent sway, both upon the question of the mental character, and its true development. The author alludes to the topic of their languages. Some of the most venerated writers present a theory of the origin of national government languages and institutions, difficult or impossible to be conformed with the nature of man in society, and unsupported by such evidence as their doctrines require. Such, he regards, the theory of the "social compact," except it be viewed in the most undefined and general sense possible. Such, also, is the theory of the origin and improvement of languages. The system of government gene[Pg 69]rally prevailing among the Indian tribes, is indeed so simple and natural, under their circumstances, that it is thought no person would long seek for the traces of any great legislator, giving them laws in any past period. When, however, we consider the curious structure of their languages, we find an ingenuity and complexity, far surpassing any theory to be discovered in that of the modern languages of Europe, with, perhaps, some exceptions in the Basque and Majyer, and even beyond any thing existing in the Greek. As the latter has long been held up as a model, and the excellencies of its plan attributed to some unknown, but great and sagacious, learned and refined mind, we might feel justified in assigning the richness of forms, the exceeding flexibility, and the characteristic beauties and excellencies of the Indian tongues, to a mind of far superior wisdom, ingenuity, and experience. Yet how perfectly gratuitous would this be! All history bears testimony against the human invention and designed alteration of language; and none but a mere theorist can ever embrace the idea that it is, or ever was, in the power of any man, to fabricate and introduce a new language, or to effect a fundamental change in the groundwork of an existing one. This, at least, is the decided opinion of the author; and he firmly believes, that whoever will contemplate the subject, amidst such scenes as he has been accustomed to, will inevitably come to the same conclusion. He has seen changes in dialects commenced and progressive, and indications of others going on, but these owed their origin and impulse to accidental circumstances, and were not the result of any plan or design. They were the result of necessity, convenience, or caprice. These three causes, that is to say, necessity convenience and caprice, if properly examined and appreciated in their influence, and traced with care to their effects, will develop the origin of many things, whose existence has been sought at too great a distance, or amidst too much refinement.

Books, and the readers of books, have done much to bewilder and perplex the study of the Indian character. Fewer theories and more observation, less fancy and more fact, might have brought us to much more correct opinions than those which are now current. The Indian is, after all, believed to be a man, much more fully under the influence of common sense notions, and obvious every-day motives of thought and action, hope and fear, than he passes for. If he does not come to the same conclusions, on passing questions, as we do, it is precisely because he sees the premises, under widely different circumstances. The admitted errors of barbarism and the admitted truths of civilization, are two very different codes. He is in want of almost every source of true knowledge and opinion, which we possess. He has very imperfect notions on many of those branches of knowledge in what we suppose him best informed. He is totally in the dark as to others. His vague and vast and dreamy notions of the Great Author of Existence, and the mode[Pg 70] of his manifestations to the human race, and the wide and complicated system of superstition and transcendental idolatry which he has reared upon this basis, place him, at once, with all his sympathies and theories, out of the great pale of truth and civilization. This is one of the leading circumstances which prevents him from drawing his conclusions as we draw them. Placed under precisely similar circumstances, we should perhaps coincide in his opinion and judgments. But aside from these erroneous views, and after making just allowances for his ignorance and moral depression, the Indian is a man of plain common sense judgment, acting from what he knows, and sees, and feels, of objects immediately before him, or palpable to his view. If he sometimes employs a highly figurative style to communicate his thoughts, and even stoops, as we now know he does, to amuse his fire-side circle with tales of extravagant and often wild demonic fancy, he is very far from being a man who, in his affairs of lands, and merchandize, and business, exchanges the sober thoughts of self preservation and subsistence, for the airy conceptions of fancy. The ties of consanguinity bind him strongly. The relation of the family is deep and well traced amongst the wildest tribes, and this fact alone forms a basis for bringing him back to all his original duties, and re-organizing Indian society. The author has, at least, been thrown into scenes and positions, in which this truth has strongly presented itself to his mind, and he believes the facts are of a character which will interest the reader, and may be of some use to the people themselves, so far as affects the benevolent plans of the age, if they do not constitute an increment in the body of observational testimony, of a practical nature from which the character of the race is to be judged.

[Pg 71]



Inquiry II.—What is the domestic condition and organization of the Indian family? Is the tie of consanguinity strong, and what characteristic facts can be stated of it? How are the domestic duties arranged? What are the rights of each inmate of the lodge? How is order maintained in so confined a space, and the general relations of the family preserved? Are the relative duties and labours of the hunter and his wife, equally or unequally divided? Who builds the lodge, and how is it constructed?

There is a very striking agreement, in the condition, relative duties and obligations, of the Indian family, among all the tribes of whom I have any personal knowledge, in North America. Climate and position, the abundance or want of the means of subsistence and other accidental causes, have created gradations of condition in the various tribes, some of whom excel others in expertness, in hunting and war, and other arts, but these circumstances have done little to alter the general characteristics, or to abridge or enlarge the original rights and claims of each inmate of the lodge. The tribes who cultivated maize in the rich sub-vallies and plains of the Ohio and Mississippi, had fuller means of both physical and mental development, than those who were, and still are, obliged to pick a scanty subsistence, among the frigid, and half marine regions in the latitudes north of the great lakes. There are some peculiar traits of manners, in the prairie-tribes, west of the Mississippi, who pursue the bison on horse back, and rely for their subsistence greatly, on its flesh, and the sale of its skin. The well fed Muscogee, Cherokee, or Choctaw, who lived in the sunny vallies of upper Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee, the robust Osage, revelling in the abundance of corn and wild meat, south of the[Pg 72] Missouri, and the lean and rigid Montaignes, Muskeego, and Kenisteno, who push their canoes through waters choked with aquatic weeds, and wild rice, present very different pictures of home and comfort, within their lodge doors. But they really present the same idea, the same sentiments, and the same round of duties and obligations, of father and mother, sister and brother, wife and husband. The original type of the human family among them, is well preserved, better, indeed, than was to have been expected in a state of barbarism, and among branches of the race who have been so long separated, and subjected to such severe vicissitudes. It would be useless, in this view, to draw a parallel between the relative condition of the members of a family, within, and without the pale of civilization. Nothing of the kind could be done, without showing up pictures of want in the hunter-life which are wholly unknown in the agricultural state. It cannot perhaps, in fair justice, be said that the tie of consanguinity, in the man of the woods, is stronger, than in civilized life. But it is in accordance with all observation to say, that it is very strong, that its impulses beat with marked force, and are more free from the intertwined ligaments of interest, which often weakens the tie of relationship in refined and affluent society.

The true idea of matrimony, in Indian life, is also well set forth and acknowledged, although it has come down through ages of plunder and wandering, degraded in its condition, shorn of its just ceremonies, and weakened in its sacred character. I have observed that polygamy, among the northern tribes, is chiefly to be found, among bands who are favourably located, and have the best means of subsistence. But even here it is not reputable; it may often increase a man's influence in the tribe or nation, but there are always persons in the wildest forests, who do not think the practice right or reputable. In the worst state of Indian society, there are always some glimmerings of truth. If the conscience of the Red man may be compared to a lamp, it may be said to have rather sunk low into its socket, than actually to have expired. The relation between husband and wife, in the forest, are formed under circumstances, which are generally uniform. Various incidents, or motives determine a union. Sometimes it is brought about by the intervention of friends; sometimes from a sudden impulse of admiration; sometimes with, and sometimes against the wishes of the graver and more prudent relatives of the parties. Where the husband is acceptable, and has not before been married, which covers the majority of cases, he comes to live for a while after marriage, in the lodge of his mother-in-law; and this relation generally lasts until the increase of children, or other circumstances determine his setting up a lodge for himself. Presents are still a ready way for a young hunter to render himself acceptable in a lodge. There are some instances, where considerable ceremony, and the invitation of friends, have attended the first reception of the bridegroom, at the lodge; but these are in most[Pg 73] cases, what we should denominate matches of state, or expediency, in which the bravery, or other public services of a chief or leader, has inclined his village to think, that his merits deserve the reward of a wife. Generally, the acceptance of the visitor by the party most interested, and her mother and father, and their expressed, or tacit consent, is the only preliminary, and this is done in a private way. The only ceremonial observance, of which I have ever heard, is the assigning of what is called an abbinos, or permanent lodge seat, to the bridegroom. When this has been done, by the mother or mistress of the lodge, who governs these things, he is received, and henceforth installed as a constituent member of the lodge and family. The simple rule is, that he who has a right to sit by the bride, is her husband.

The lodge itself, with all its arrangements, is the precinct of the rule and government of the wife. She assigns to each member, his or her ordinary place to sleep and put their effects. These places are permanent, and only changed at her will, as when there is a guest by day or night. In a space so small as a lodge this system preserves order, and being at all times under her own eye, is enforced by personal supervision. The husband has no voice in this matter, and I have never heard of an instance in which he would so far deviate from his position, as to interfere in these minor particulars. The lodge is her precinct, the forest his.

There is no law, nor force, to prevent an Indian from decreeing his own divorce, that is to say, leaving one wife and taking another whenever he sees cause. Yet it often occurs that there is some plausible pretext for such a step, such as if true, would form some justification of the measure. The best protection to married females arises from the ties of children, which by bringing into play the strong natural affections of the heart, and appeals at once to that principle in man's original organization, which is the strongest. The average number of children borne by the women, and which reach the adult period is small, and will scarcely exceed two. On the pay rolls it did not exceed this. Much of this extraordinary result is owing to their erratic mode of life, and their cramped means of subsistence. Another cause is to be found in the accidents and exposure to which young children are liable, but still more to their shocking ignorance of medicine. I once knew a child at three years of age to be killed by an attempt to restore a deranged state of the bowels, by a strong overdose of an astringent tincture of hemlock bark administered by her father. This man, who was called Attuck, had strong natural affections, but he was very ignorant even in the eyes of the Indian race, being one of that people living N.E. of lake Superior, who are called variously Gens de Terres, Mountaineers, and Muskeegoes. Wherever the laws of reproduction are relieved from these depressing circumstances, the number of children is seen to be increased.

The chief Iaba-Waddick, who lived on a small bay at the foot of lake[Pg 74] Superior, and had abundance of means of subsistence, had fourteen children by one wife. He was an excellent hunter, and of habits for the most part of his life, strictly temperate; he had married young, and had always had the means of providing his family with adequate clothing and food. Not one of these children died in infancy. He lived himself to be old, and died rather from a complaint induced by constitutional structure, than from a natural decay of vital power.

The duties and labours of Indian life, are believed to be equally, and not, as has been generally thought, unequally divided between the male and female. This division is also the most natural possible, and such as must ever result from the condition of man, as a mere hunter. It is the duty of the male to provide food, and of the female to prepare it. This arrangement carries with it to the share of the male, all that relates to external concerns, and all that pertains to the internal to the care of the female as completely as is done in civilized life. To the man belongs not only the business of hunting, for this is an employment and not a pastime, but the care of the territory, and keeping off intruders and enemies, and the preparation of canoes for travel, and of arms and implements of war. The duties of cooking and dressing meats and fowl, and whatever else the chase affords, carries on the other hand, to the share of the hunter's wife, the entire care and controul of the lodge, with its structure and removal, and the keeping it in order, with all its utensils and apparatus. A good and frugal hunter's wife, makes all this a point of ambitious interest, and takes a pride in keeping it neat and proper for the reception of her husband's guests. She sweeps the earth clean around the fire, with a broom of branches of the cedar constructed for this purpose. This lodge it is to be remembered, is made not of beams and posts, and heavy carpentry, but out of thin poles, such as a child can lift, set in the ground in a circle, bent over and tied at the top, and sheathed with long sheets of the white birch bark. A rim of cedar wood at the bottom, assimilates these birch bark sheets to the roller of a map, to which in stormy weather a stone is attached to hold it firm. This stick has also the precise use of a map-roller, for when the lodge is to be removed, the bark is rolled on it, and in this shape carried to the canoe, to be set up elsewhere. The circle of sticks or frame, is always left standing, as it would be useless to encumber the canoe with what can easily be had at any position in a forest country.

Such at least is the hunting lodge, and indeed, the lodge generally used by the tribes north of latitude 42°. It is, in its figure, a half globe, and by its lightness and wicker-like structure, may be said to resemble an inverted bird's nest. The whole amount of the transportable materials of it, is often comprehended in some half a dozen good rolls of bark, and as many of rush mats which the merest girl can easily lift. The mats which are the substitute for floor cloths, and also the under stratum of the sleep[Pg 75]ing couch, are made out of the common lacustris or bullrush, or the flag, cut at the proper season, and woven in a warp of fine hemp net thread, such as is furnished by traders in the present state of the Indian trade. A portion of this soft vegetable woof, is dyed, and woven in various colours. Lodges thus constructed are to be still abundantly seen, by the summer visitor, in the upper lakes, at all the principal points, to which the Indians resort, during the height of summer. Such are the posts of Michilimackinac, Sault Ste. Marie, and Green Bay. At Michilimackinac, where it is now difficult to get fresh lodge poles, without going some distance, or trespassing on private rights, the natives who resort thither, of late years, have adopted an ingenious change, by which two objects are accomplished at the same time, and the labour of the females dispensed with in getting new poles. It is known, that the bark canoe, being itself but an enlarged species of wicker work, has not sufficient strength to be freighted, without previously having a number of poles laid longitudinally, in the bottom, as a kind of vertebral support. These poles on landing upon the gravelly shores of that island, are set up, or stacked to use a military phrase, that is tying the tops together and then drawing out the other ends so as to describe a circle, and thus making a perfect cone. The bark tapestry is hung around these poles very much as it would be around the globular close lodges; and by this arrangement, an Indian lodge is raised, and ready for occupation, in as many minutes, after landing, as the most expert soldiers could pitch a tent in.

Before we can affirm that the labour of preparing these barks and mats and setting up, and taking down, the lodge, is disproportionately great, or heavy on the females, it will be necessary to inquire into other particulars, both on the side of the male and female. Much of the time of an Indian female, is passed in idleness. This is true not only of a part of every day, but is emphatically so, of certain seasons of the year. She has not like the farmer's wife, her cows to milk, her butter and cheese to make, and her flax to spin. She has not to wash and comb and prepare her children every morning, to go to school. She has no extensive or fine wardrobe to take care of. She has no books to read. She sets little value on time, which is characteristic of all the race. What she does, is either very plain sewing, or some very pains taking ornamental thing. When the sheathing and flooring of the lodges are once made, they are permanent pieces of property, and do not require frequent renewal. When a skin has been dressed, and a garment made of it, it is worn, till it is worn out. Frequent ablution and change of dress, are eminently the traits of high civilization, and not of the hunter's lodge. The articles which enter into the mysteries of the laundry, add but little to the cares of a forest housekeeper. With every industrial effort, and such is, sometimes the case, there is much unoccupied time, while her husband is compelled by their necessities, to traverse large tracts, and endure[Pg 76] great fatigues, in all weathers in quest of food. He must defend his hunting grounds, in peace and war, and has his life daily in his hands. Long absences are often necessary, on these accounts. It is at such times, during the open season, that the Indian female exerts her industry. In the fall season, she takes her children in a canoe, or if she have none, invites a female companion to go with her, along the streams, to cut the rush, to be manufactured into mats, at her leisure, in the winter. It is also a part of her duty, at all seasons, to provide fuel for the lodge fire, which she is careful to do, that she may suitably receive her husband, on his return from the chase, and have the means of drying his wet moccasins, and a cheerful spot, where he may light his pipe, and regain his mental equilibrium, while she prepares his meals. The very idea of a female's chopping wood, is to some horrific. But it is quite true that the Indian female does chop wood, or at least, exert an undue labour, in procuring this necessary article of the household. In speaking of the female, we, at once, rush to the poetic idea of the refinement of lady like gentleness, and delicacy. Not only does the nature of savage life and the hardiness of muscle created by centuries of forest vicissitude, give the hunter's wife, but a slender claim on this particular shade of character, but the kind of labour implied, is very different from the notion civilized men have of "wood chopping." The emigrant swings a heavy axe of six pounds weight, incessantly, day in, and day out, against immense trees, in the heaviest forest, until he has opened the land to the rays of the sun, and prepared an amount of cyclopean labours for the power of fire, and the ox. The hunter clears no forests, the limits of which on the contrary, he carefully cherishes for his deer to range in. He seats himself down, with his lodge, in the borders of natural glades, or meadows, to plant his few hills of maize. He had no metallic axe, capable of cutting down a tree, before 1492, and he has never learned to wield a heavy axe up to 1844. His wife, always made her lodge fires by gathering sticks, and she does so still. She takes a hatchet of one or two pounds weight, and after collecting dry limbs in the forest, she breaks them into lengths of about 18 inches, and ties them in bundles, or faggots, and carries them, at her leisure, to her lodge. Small as these sticks are, in their length and diameter, but few are required to boil her pot. The lodge, being of small circumference, but little heat is required to warm the air, and by suspending the pot by a string from above, over a small blaze, the object is attained, without that extraordinary expenditure of wood, which, to the perfect amazement of the Indian, characterizes the emigrant's roaring fire of logs. The few fields which the Indians have cleared and prepared for corn fields, in northern latitudes, are generally to be traced to some adventitious opening, and have been enlarged very slowly. Hence, I have observed, that when they have come to be appraised, to fix their value as improvements upon the land, under treaty provisions, that the amount thereof may be paid the[Pg 77] owner, they have uniformly set a high estimate upon these ancient clearings, and sometimes regarded their value, one would think, in the inverse proportion of these limits. As if, indeed, there were some merit, in having but half an acre of cleared ground, where, it might be supposed, the owner would have cultivated ten acres. And this half acre, is to be regarded as the industrial sum of the agricultural labours of all ages and sexes, during perhaps, ten generations. Could the whole of this physical effort, therefore, be traced to female hands, which is doubtful, for the old men and boys, will often do something, it would not be a very severe imposition. There is at least, a good deal, it is believed, in this view of the domestic condition of the women to mitigate the severity of judgment, with which the proud and labour-hating hunter, has sometimes been visited. He has, in our view, the most important part of the relative duties of Indian life, to sustain. In the lodge he is a mild, considerate man, of the non-interfering and non-scolding species. He may indeed, be looked upon, rather as the guest of his wife, than what he is often represented to be, her tyrant, and he is often only known as the lord of the lodge, by the attention and respect which she shows to him. He is a man of few words. If her temper is ruffled, he smiles. If he is displeased, he walks away. It is a province in which his actions acknowledge her right to rule; and it is one, in which his pride and manliness have exalted him above the folly of altercation.

[Pg 78]


There is a prominent hill in the vicinity of Sault Ste. Marie, at the outlet of lake Superior, called by the French La Butte des Terres. An Indian footpath formerly connected this hill with the old French settlement at those falls, from which it is distant about a mile. In the intermediate space, near the path, there formerly stood a tree, a large mountain ash, from which, Indian tradition says, there issued a sound, resembling that produced by their own war-drums, during one of the most calm and cloudless days. This occurred long before the French appeared in the country. It was consequently regarded as the local residence of a spirit, and deemed sacred.

From that time they began to deposit at its foot, an offering of small green twigs and boughs, whenever they passed the path, so that, in process of time, a high pile of these offerings of the forest was accumulated. It seemed as if, by this procedure, the other trees had each made an offering to this tree. At length the tree blew down, during a violent storm, and has since entirely decayed, but the spot was recollected and the offerings kept up, and they would have been continued to the present hour, had not an accidental circumstance put a stop to it.

In the month of July 1822, the government sent a military force to take post, at that ancient point of French settlement, at the foot of the falls, and one of the first acts of the commanding officer was to order out a fatigue party to cut a wagon road from the selected site of the post to the hill. This road was directed to be cut sixty feet wide, and it passed over the site of the tree. The pile of offerings was thus removed, without the men's knowing that it ever had had a superstitious origin; and thus the practice itself came to an end. I had landed with the troops, and been at the place but nine days, in the exercise of my appropriate duties as an Agent on the part of the government to the tribe, when this trait of character was mentioned to me, and I was thus made personally acquainted with the locality, the cutting of the road, and the final extinction of the rite.

Our Indians are rather prone to regard the coming of the white man, as fulfilling certain obscure prophecies of their own priests; and that they are, at best, harbingers of evil to them; and with their usual belief in fatality, they tacitly drop such rites as the foregoing. They can excuse themselves to their consciences in such cases, in relinquishing the worship of a local manito, by saying: it is the tread of the white man that has desecrated the ground.

[Pg 79]



There was once a very beautiful young girl, who died suddenly on the day she was to have been married to a handsome young man. He was also brave, but his heart was not proof against this loss. From the hour she was buried, there was no more joy or peace for him. He went often to visit the spot where the women had buried her, and sat musing there, when, it was thought, by some of his friends, he would have done better to try to amuse himself in the chase, or by diverting his thoughts in the war-path. But war and hunting had both lost their charms for him. His heart was already dead within him. He pushed aside both his war-club and his bow and arrows.

He had heard the old people say, that there was a path, that led to the land of souls, and he determined to follow it. He accordingly set out, one morning, after having completed his preparations for the journey. At first he hardly knew which way to go. He was only guided by the tradition that he must go south. For a while, he could see no change in the face of the country. Forests, and hills, and vallies, and streams had the same looks, which they wore in his native place. There was snow on the ground, when he set out, and it was sometimes seen to be piled and matted on the thick trees and bushes. At length, it began to diminish, and finally disappeared. The forest assumed a more cheerful appearance, the leaves put forth their buds, and before he was aware of the completeness of the change, he found himself surrounded by spring. He had left behind him the land of snow and ice. The air became mild, the dark clouds of winter had rolled away from the sky; a pure field of blue was above him, and as he went he saw flowers beside his path, and heard the songs of birds. By these signs he knew that he was going the right way, for they agreed with the traditions of his tribe. At length he spied a path. It led him through a grove, then up a long and elevated ridge, on the very top of which he came to a lodge. At the door stood an old man, with white hair, whose eyes, though deeply sunk, had a fiery brilliancy. He had a long robe of skins thrown loosely around his shoulders, and a staff in his hands.

[Pg 80]The young Chippewayan began to tell his story; but the venerable chief arrested him, before he had proceeded to speak ten words. I have expected you, he replied, and had just risen to bid you welcome to my abode. She, whom you seek, passed here but a few days since, and being fatigued with her journey, rested herself here. Enter my lodge and be seated, and I will then satisfy your enquiries, and give you directions for your journey from this point. Having done this, they both issued forth to the lodge door. "You see yonder gulf," said he, "and the wide stretching blue plains beyond. It is the land of souls. You stand upon its borders, and my lodge is the gate of entrance. But you cannot take your body along. Leave it here with your bow and arrows, your bundle and your dog. You will find them safe on your return." So saying, he re-entered the lodge, and the freed traveller bounded forward, as if his feet had suddenly been endowed with the power of wings. But all things retained their natural colours and shapes. The woods and leaves, and streams and lakes, were only more bright and comely than he had ever witnessed. Animals bounded across his path, with a freedom and a confidence which seemed to tell him, there was no blood shed here. Birds of beautiful plumage inhabited the groves, and sported in the waters. There was but one thing, in which he saw a very unusual effect. He noticed that his passage was not stopped by trees or other objects. He appeared to walk directly through them. They were, in fact, but the souls or shadows of material trees. He became sensible that he was in a land of shadows. When he had travelled half a day's journey, through a country which was continually becoming more attractive, he came to the banks of a broad lake, in the centre of which was a large and beautiful island. He found a canoe of shining white stone, tied to the shore. He was now sure that he had come the right path, for the aged man had told him of this. There were also shining paddles. He immediately entered the canoe, and took the paddles in his hands, when to his joy and surprise, on turning round, he beheld the object of his search in another canoe, exactly its counterpart in every thing. She had exactly imitated his motions, and they were side by side. They at once pushed out from shore and began to cross the lake. Its waves seemed to be rising and at a distance looked ready to swallow them up; but just as they entered the whitened edge of them they seemed to melt away, as if they were but the images of waves. But no sooner was one wreath of foam passed, than another, more threatening still, rose up. Thus they were in perpetual fear; and what added to it, was the clearness of the water, through which they could see heaps of beings who had perished before, and whose bones laid strewed on the bottom of the lake. The Master of Life had, however, decreed to let them pass, for the actions of neither of them had been bad. But they saw many others struggling and sinking in the waves. Old men and young men, males and females of all ages and ranks, were there; some passed, and[Pg 81] some sank. It was only the little children whose canoes seemed to meet no waves. At length, every difficulty was gone, as in a moment, and they both leapt out on the happy island. They felt that the very air was food. It strengthened and nourished them. They wandered together over the blissful fields, where every thing was formed to please the eye and the ear. There were no tempests—there was no ice, no chilly winds—no one shivered for the want of warm clothes; no one suffered for hunger—no one mourned for the dead. They saw no graves. They heard of no wars. There was no hunting of animals; for the air itself was their food. Gladly would the young warrior have remained there forever, but he was obliged to go back for his body. He did not see the Master of Life, but he heard his voice in a soft breeze: "Go back, said this voice, to the land from whence you came. Your time has not yet come. The duties for which I made you, and which you are to perform, are not yet finished. Return to your people, and accomplish the duties of a good man. You will be the ruler of your tribe for many days. The rules you must observe, will be told you by my messenger, who keeps the gate. When he surrenders back your body, he will tell you what to do. Listen to him, and you shall afterwards rejoin the spirit, which you must now leave behind. She is accepted and will be ever here, as young and as happy as she was when I first called her from the land of snows." When this voice ceased, the narrator awoke. It was the fancy work of a dream, and he was still in the bitter land of snows, and hunger and tears.



A lynx almost famished, met a hare one day in the woods, in the winter season, but the hare was separated from its enemy by a rock, upon which it stood. The lynx began to speak to it in a very kind manner. "Wabose! Wabose!"[3] said he, "come here my little white one, I wish to talk to you." "O no," said the hare, "I am afraid of you, and my mother told me never to go and talk with strangers." "You are very pretty," replied the lynx, "and a very obedient child to your parents; but you must know that I am a relative of yours; I wish to send some word to your lodge; come down and see me." The hare was pleased to be called pretty, and when she heard that it was a relative, she jumped down from the place where she stood, and immediately the lynx pounced upon her and tore her to pieces.

[3] This word appears to be a derivation from the radix WAWB, white. The termination in e is the objective sign. The term is made diminutive in s.

[Pg 82]



A long time ago, there lived an aged Odjibwa and his wife, on the shores of Lake Huron. They had an only son, a very beautiful boy, whose name was O-na-wut-a-qut-o, or he that catches the clouds. The family were of the totem of the beaver. The parents were very proud of him, and thought to make him a celebrated man, but when he reached the proper age, he would not submit to the We-koon-de-win, or fast. When this time arrived, they gave him charcoal, instead of his breakfast, but he would not blacken his face. If they denied him food, he would seek for birds' eggs, along the shore, or pick up the heads of fish that had been cast away, and broil them. One day, they took away violently the food he had thus prepared, and cast him some coals in place of it. This act brought him to a decision. He took the coals and blackened his face, and went out of the lodge. He did not return, but slept without; and during the night, he had a dream. He dreamed that he saw a very beautiful female come down from the clouds and stand by his side. "O-no-wut-a-qut-o," said she, "I am come for you—step in my tracks." The young man did so, and presently felt himself ascending above the tops of the trees—he mounted up, step by step, into the air, and through the clouds. His guide, at length, passed through an orifice, and he, following her, found himself standing on a beautiful plain.

A path led to a splendid lodge. He followed her into it. It was large, and divided into two parts. On one end he saw bows and arrows, clubs and spears, and various warlike implements tipped with silver. On the other end, were things exclusively belonging to females. This was the home of his fair guide, and he saw that she had, on the frame, a broad rich belt, of many colours, which she was weaving. She said to him: "My brother is coming and I must hide you." Putting him in one corner, she spread the belt over him. Presently the brother came in, very richly dressed, and shining as if he had had points of silver all over him. He took down from the wall a splendid pipe, together with his sack of a-pa-ko-ze-gun, or smoking mixture. When he had finished regaling himself in this way, and laid his pipe aside, he said to his sister: "Nemissa," (which is, my elder sister,) "when will you quit these practices? Do you forget that the Greatest of the Spirits has commanded that you should not[Pg 83] take away the children from below? Perhaps you suppose that you have concealed O-no-wut-a-qut-o, but do I not know of his coming? If you would not offend me, send him back immediately." But this address did not alter her purpose. She would not send him back. Finding that she was purposed in her mind, he then spoke to the young lad, and called him from his hiding place. "Come out of your concealment," said he, "and walk about and amuse yourself. You will grow hungry if you remain there." He then presented him a bow and arrows, and a pipe of red stone, richly ornamented. This was taken as the word of consent to his marriage; so the two were considered husband and wife from that time.

O-no-wut-a-qut-o found every thing exceedingly fair and beautiful around him, but he found no inhabitants except her brother. There were flowers on the plains. There were bright and sparkling streams. There were green vallies and pleasant trees. There were gay birds and beautiful animals, but they were not such as he had been accustomed to see. There was also day and night, as on the earth; but he observed that every morning the brother regularly left the lodge, and remained absent all day; and every evening the sister departed, though it was commonly but for a part of the night.

His curiosity was aroused to solve this mystery. He obtained the brother's consent to accompany him in one of his daily journies. They travelled over a smooth plain, without boundaries, until O-no-wut-a-qut-o felt the gnawings of appetite, and asked his companion if there were no game. "Patience! my brother," said he, "we shall soon reach the spot where I eat my dinner, and you will then see how I am provided." After walking on a long time, they came to a place which was spread over with fine mats, where they sat down to refresh themselves. There was, at this place, a hole through the sky; and O-no-wut-a-qut-o, looked down, at the bidding of his companion, upon the earth. He saw below the great lakes, and the villages of the Indians. In one place, he saw a war party stealing on the camp of their enemies. In another, he saw feasting and dancing. On a green plain, young men were engaged at ball. Along a stream, women were employed in gathering the a-puk-wa for mats.

"Do you see," said the brother, "that group of children playing beside a lodge. Observe that beautiful and active boy," said he, at the same time darting something at him, from his hand. The child immediately fell, and was carried into the lodge.

They looked again, and saw the people gathering about the lodge. They heard the she-she-gwan of the meeta, and the song he sung, asking that the child's life might be spared. To this request, the companion of O-no-wut-a-qut-o made answer—"send me up the sacrifice of a white dog." Immediately a feast was ordered by the parents of the child, the white dog was killed, his carcass was roasted, and all the wise men and medicine men of the village assembled to witness the ceremony. "There are many[Pg 84] below," continued the voice of the brother, "whom you call great in medical skill, but it is because their ears are open, and they listen to my voice, that they are able to succeed. When I have struck one with sickness, they direct the people to look to me: and when they send me the offering I ask, I remove my hand from off them, and they are well." After he had said this, they saw the sacrifice parcelled out in dishes, for those who were at the feast. The master of the feast then said, "we send this to thee, Great Manito," and immediately the roasted animal came up. Thus their dinner was supplied, and after they had eaten, they returned to the lodge by another way.

After this manner they lived for some time; but the place became wearisome at last. O-no-wut-a-qut-o thought of his friends, and wished to go back to them. He had not forgotten his native village, and his father's lodge; and he asked leave of his wife, to return. At length she consented. "Since you are better pleased," she replied, "with the cares and the ills, and the poverty of the world, than with the peaceful delights of the sky, and its boundless prairies, go! I give you permission, and since I have brought you hither, I will conduct you back; but remember, you are still my husband, I hold a chain in my hand by which I can draw you back, whenever I will. My power over you is not, in any manner, diminished. Beware, therefore, how you venture to take a wife among the people below. Should you ever do so, it is then that you shall feel the force of my displeasure."

As she said this, her eyes sparkled—she raised herself slightly on her toes, and stretched herself up, with a majestic air; and at that moment, O-no-wut-a-qut-o awoke from his dream. He found himself on the ground, near his father's lodge, at the very spot where he had laid himself down to fast. Instead of the bright beings of a higher world, he found himself surrounded by his parents and relatives. His mother told him he had been absent a year. The change was so great, that he remained for some time moody and abstracted, but by degrees, he recovered his spirits. He began to doubt the reality of all he had heard and seen above. At last, he forgot the admonitions of his spouse, and married a beautiful young woman of his own tribe. But within four days, she was a corpse. Even the fearful admonition was lost, and he repeated the offence by a second marriage. Soon afterwards, he went out of the lodge, one night, but never returned. It was believed that his wife had recalled him to the region of the clouds, where the tradition asserts, he still dwells, and walks on the daily rounds, which he once witnessed.

The native tribes are a people without maxims: One of the few which have been noticed is this: Do not tell a story in the summer; if you do, the toads will visit you.

[Pg 85]



There was once a Shingebiss, [the name of a kind of duck] living alone, in a solitary lodge, on the shores of the deep bay of a lake, in the coldest winter weather. The ice had formed on the water, and he had but four logs of wood to keep his fire. Each of these, would, however, burn a month, and as there were but four cold winter months, they were sufficient to carry him through till spring.

Shingebiss was hardy and fearless, and cared for no one. He would go out during the coldest day, and seek for places where flags and rushes grew through the ice, and plucking them up with his bill, would dive through the openings, in quest of fish. In this way he found plenty of food, while others were starving, and he went home daily to his lodge, dragging strings of fish after him, on the ice.

Kabebonicca[4] observed him, and felt a little piqued at his perseverance and good luck in defiance of the severest blasts of wind he could send from the northwest. "Why! this is a wonderful man," said he; "he does not mind the cold, and appears as happy and contented, as if it were the month of June. I will try, whether he cannot be mastered." He poured forth ten-fold colder blasts, and drifts of snow, so that it was next to impossible to live in the open air. Still the fire of Shingebiss did not go out: he wore but a single strip of leather around his body, and he was seen, in the worst weather, searching the shores for rushes, and carrying home fish.

[4] A personification of the North West.

"I shall go and visit him," said Kabebonicca, one day, as he saw Shingebiss dragging along a quantity of fish. And accordingly, that very night, he went to the door of his lodge. Meantime Shingebiss had cooked his fish, and finished his meal, and was lying, partly on his side, before the fire singing his songs. After Kabebonicca had come to the door, and stood listening there, he sang as follows:


The number of words, in this song, are few and simple, but they are made up from compounds which carry the whole of their original meanings, and are rather suggestive of the ideas floating in the mind, than actual expressions of those ideas. Literally he sings:

Spirit of the North West—you are but my fellow man.
[Pg 86]

By being broken into syllables, to correspond with a simple chant, and by the power of intonation and repetition, with a chorus, these words are expanded into melodious utterance, if we may be allowed the term, and may be thus rendered:

Windy god, I know your plan,
You are but my fellow man,
Blow you may your coldest breeze,
Shingebiss you cannot freeze,
Sweep the strongest wind you can,
Shingebiss is still your man,
Heigh! for life—and ho! for bliss,
Who so free as Shingebiss?

The hunter knew that Kabebonicca was at his door, for he felt his cold and strong breath; but he kept on singing his songs, and affected utter indifference. At length Kabebonicca entered, and took his seat on the opposite side of the lodge. But Shingebiss did not regard, or notice him. He got up, as if nobody were present, and taking his poker, pushed the log, which made his fire burn brighter, repeating as he sat down again:

You are but my fellow man.

Very soon the tears began to flow down Kabebonicca's cheeks, which increased so fast, that, presently, he said to himself, "I cannot stand this—I must go out." He did so, and left Shingebiss to his songs; but resolved to freeze up all the flag orifices, and make the ice thick, so that he could not get any more fish. Still Shingebiss, by dint of great diligence, found means to pull up new roots, and dive under for fish. At last Kabebonicca was compelled to give up the contest. "He must be aided by some Monedo," said he, "I can neither freeze him, nor starve him, he is a very singular being—I will let him alone."

The introduction of the Saxon race into North America, has had three determined opponents, the life of each of whom forms a distinct era. They were Powhatan, Metakom, and Pontiac. Each pursued the same method to accomplish his end, and each was the indominitable foe of the race.—Sassacus ought, perhaps, to be added to the number. Brant, was but a partisan, and fought for one branch, against another. Tecumseh, was also, rather the foe of the American type of the race, than the whole race. The same can be said of lesser men, such as Little Turtle, Buckanjaheela, and Black Hawk. Uncas was also a partisan, not a hater of the white race, and like Waub Ojeeg in the north, fought, that one tribe might prevail over another. If the Saxon race profited by this, he could not help it. Tuscaloosa fought for his tribe's supremacy; Osceola for revenge.

[Pg 87]



There lived a noted chief on the north banks of the St. Lawrence in the latter part of the 16th century, who was called by the Iroquois, Piskaret, but the true pronunciation of whose name, by his own people, was Bisconace, or the Little Blaze. Names are often arbitrarily bestowed by the Indians, from some trivial circumstance in domestic life, or hunting, as mere nick names, which take the place of the real names: for it is a practice among this people to conceal their real names, from a subtle, superstitious notion, that, if so known, they will be under the power of priestly incantation, or some other evil influence.

What the real name of this man was, if it differed from the above, is not known, as this was his only appellation. He was an Adirondak: that is to say, one of the race of people who were called Adirondaks by the Iroquois, but Algonquins by the French. And as the Algonquins and Iroquois, had lately became deadly enemies and were so then, the distinction to which Bisconace rose, was in the conducting of the war which his people waged against the Iroquois, or Five Nations.

It seems, from the accounts of both English and French authors, that the Algonquins, at the period of the first settlement of the St. Lawrence, were by far the most advanced in arts and knowledge, and most distinguished for skill in war and hunting, of all the nations in North America. This at least is certain, that no chief, far or near, enjoyed as high a reputation for daring valor and skill as Bisconace. He is spoken of in this light by all who name him; he was so fierce, subtle and indomitable that he became the terror of his enemies, who were startled at the very mention of his name. Bisconace lived on the north banks of the St. Lawrence, below Montreal, and carried on his wars against the Indians inhabiting the northern parts of the present state of New York, often proceeding by the course of the River Sorel.

The period of the Adirondak supremacy, embraced the close of the 15th century and the beginning of the 16th, and at this time the people began to derive great power and boldness, from the possession of fire arms, with which the French supplied them, before their southern and western neighbours came to participate in this great improvement, this striking era of the Red man, in the art of war. Golden is thought to be a little out, in the great estimate he furnishes of the power, influence, and advances of this great family of the Red Race. The French naturally puffed them up a good deal; but we may admit that they were most expert warriors, and hunters, and manufactured arms and canoes, with great skill. They[Pg 88] were the prominent enemies of the Five Nations; and like all enemies at a distance had a formidable name. The word Adirondak is one of Iroquois origin; but the French, who always gave their own names to the Tribes, and had a policy in so doing, called them Algonquins—a term whose origin is involved in some obscurity. For a time, they prevailed against their enemies south of the St. Lawrence, but the latter were soon furnished with arms by the Dutch, who entered the Hudson in 1609, and their allies, the Iracoson, or Iroquois, soon assumed that rank in war which, if they had before lacked, raised them to so high a point of preeminence. It was in that early period of the history of these nations that Bisconace exerted his power.

Where a people have neither history nor biography, there is but little hope that tradition will long preserve the memory of events. Some of the acts of this chief are known through the earlier colonial writers. So great was the confidence inspired in the breast of this chief, by the use of fire arms, that he pushed into the Iroquois country like a mad man, and performed some feats against a people armed with bows only, which are astonishing.

With only four chiefs to aid him, he left Trois Rivieres, on one occasion, in a single canoe, with fifteen loaded muskets, thus giving three pieces, to each man. Each piece was charged with two balls, joined by a small chain ten inches long. Soon after entering the Sorel river, he encountered five bark canoes of Iroquois, each having ten men. To cloak his ruse he pretended to give himself up for lost, in view of such a disparity of numbers; and he and his companions began to sing their death song. They had no sooner got near their enemies, however, than they began to pour in their chain-shot, riddling the frail canoes of the enemy, who tumbled into the water, and sank under the active blows of their adversaries. Some he saved to grace his triumphant return, and these were tortured at the stake.

On another occasion he undertook an enterprize alone. Being well acquainted with the Iroquois country, he set out, about the time the snow began to melt, taking the precaution to put the hinder part of his snow-shoes forward to mislead the enemy, in case his track should be discovered. As a further precaution, he avoided the plain forest paths, keeping along the ridges and high stony grounds, where the snow was melting, that his track might be often lost. When he came near to one of the Villages of the Five Nations, he hid himself till night. He then crept forth, and entered a lodge, where he found every soul asleep. Having killed them all, he took their scalps, and went back to his lurking place. The next day the people of the village searched in vain for the perpetrator. At night he again sallied forth, and repeated the act, on another lodge, with equal secrecy and success. Again the villagers searched, but could find no traces of his footsteps. They determined, however, to set a watch. Pis[Pg 89]karet, anticipating this, gathered up his scalps, and stole forth slyly, but found the inhabitants of every lodge on the alert, save one, where the sentinel had fallen asleep. This man he despatched and scalped, but alarmed the rest, who rose in the pursuit. He was, however, under no great fears of being overtaken. One of the causes of his great confidence in himself was found in the fact that he was the swiftest runner known. He eluded them often, sometimes, however, lingering to draw them on, and tire them out. When he had played this trick, he hid himself. His pursuers, finding they had let him escape, encamped, thinking themselves in safety, but they had no sooner fallen asleep, than he stole forth from his lurking place, and despatched every one of them. He added their scalps to his bundle of trophies, and then returned.

Recitals of this kind flew from village to village, and gave him the greatest reputation for courage, adroitness and fleetness.

The Five Nations were, however, early noted for their skill in stratagem, and owed their early rise to it. They were at this era engaged in their long, fierce and finally triumphant war against the Algonquins and Wyandots, or to adopt the ancient terms, the Adirondaks and Quatoghies. These latter they defeated in a great battle, fought within two miles of Quebec. In this battle the French, who were in reality weak in number, were neutral. Their neutrality, on this occasion, happened in this way. They had urged the reception of priests upon the Five Nations, through whose influence, they hoped to prevail over that people, and to wrest western New York from the power of the Dutch and English. As soon as a number of these missionaries of the sword and cross had insinuated themselves among the Five Nations, the latter seized them, as hostages; and, under a threat of their execution, kept the French quiet in this decisive battle. This scheme had succeeded so well, that it taught the Five Nations the value of negotiation; and they determined, the next year, to try another. Pretending that they were now well satisfied with their triumph on the St. Lawrence, they sent word that they meant to make a formidable visit to Yonnendio, this being the official name they bestowed on the governor of Canada. Such visits they always made with great pomp and show; and on this occasion, they came with 1000 or 1200 men. On the way to Quebec, near the river Nicolet, their scouts met Piskaret, whom they cajoled, and kept in utter ignorance of the large force behind until they had drawn out of him an important piece of information, and then put him to death. They cut off his head, and carried it to the Iroquois army. To have killed him, was regarded as an assurance of ultimate victory. These scouts also carried to the army the information, which they had obtained, that the Adirondaks were divided into two bodies, one of which hunted on the river Nicolet, and the other at a place called Wabmeke, on the north side of the St. Lawrence. They immedi[Pg 90]ately divided their forces, fell upon each body at unawares and cut them both to pieces.

This is the great triumph to which Charlevoix, in his history of New France, alludes. It was the turning point in the war against the confederated Wyandots, and Algonquins, and, in effect, drove both nations, in the end, effectually out of the St. Lawrence valley. The former fled to Lake Huron, to which they imparted their name. Some of the Adirondaks took shelter near Quebec, under the care of the Jesuits; the larger number went up the Utawas, to the region of Lake Nipising; the Atawairos fled to a large chain of islands in Lake Huron, called the Menaloulins; other bands scattered in other directions. Each one had some local name; and all, it is probable, were well enough pleased to hide their defeat by the Five Nations, under local and geographical designations. But they had no peace in their refuge. The spirit of revenge burned in the breast of the Iroquois, particularly against their kindred tribe, the Wyandots, whom they pursued into Lake Huron, drove them from their refuge at Michilimackinac, and pushed them even to Lake Superior, where for many years, this ancient tribe continued to dwell.

The pernicious examples of white men, who have conducted the Indian trade, their immoral habits, injustice, and disregard of truth, and open licentiousness, have created the deepest prejudice in the minds of the Red men against the whole European race.

The Indian only thinks when he is forced to think, by circumstances. Fear, hunger and self-preservation, are the three prominent causes of his thoughts. Affection and reverence for the dead, come next.

Abstract thought is the characteristic of civilization. If teachers could induce the Indians to think on subjects not before known to them, or but imperfectly known, they would adopt one of the most efficacious means of civilizing them.

Christianity is ultraism to an Indian. It is so opposed to his natural desires, that he, at first, hates it, and decries it. Opposite states of feeling, however, affect him, precisely as they do white men. What he at first hates, he may as suddenly love and embrace.

Christianity is not propagated by ratiocination, it is the result of feelings and affections on the will and understanding. Hence an Indian can become a christian.

[Pg 91]





Towards the middle of the seventeenth century, a body of Indians, composed of the Wyandots (or as they were then called the Saus-taw-ray-tsee) and Seneca tribes inhabited the borders of Lake Ontario. The present Wyandots and Senecas are the remains of this community, and of the cause of their separation and of the relentless hostilities by which it was succeeded, the following details are given in the traditionary history of the Wyandots.

A Wyandot girl, whose name for the sake of distinction shall be Oon-yay-stee, and in whom appeared united a rare combination of moral attractions, and of extraordinary personal beauty, had for her suitors, nearly all the young men of her tribe. As insensible however, as beautiful, the attentions of her lovers were productive of no favorable effect, for though none were rejected, yet neither was any one distinguished by her partiality. This unaccountable apathy became, in time, a subject not only of general, but of common interest to the young Wyandots. A council composed of those interested in the issue of these many and importunate applications for her favor, was held for the purpose of devising some method, by which her intentions in relation to them might be ascertained. At this, when these amourists had severally conceded, each, that he could boast of no indication of a preference shown by Oon-yay-stee to himself, upon which to found a reasonable hope of ultimately succeeding, it was finally determined, that their claims should be withdrawn in favor of the War Chief of their lodge. This was adopted, not so much for the purpose of advancing the interests of another to the prejudice of their own, as to avoid the humiliating alternative of yielding the object of so much competition to some more fortunate rival not connected with their band.

It may be here necessary to remark that nearly all the suitors belonged to one lodge, and that each of these was a large oblong building, capable of containing 20 or 30 families, the domestic arrangements of which were regulated by a war chief, acknowledged as the head of that particular subordinate band.

Many objections to the task imposed on him by this proposition were[Pg 92] interposed by the chief, the principal of which were, the great disparity of age and the utter futility of any further attempt, upon the affections of one so obdurate of heart. The first was obviated by some well applied commendations of his person, and the second yielded to the suggestion that women were often capricious, were not always influenced by considerations the most natural, or resolvable to reasons the most obvious.

The chief then painted and arrayed himself as for battle, bestowing some little additional adornment upon his person, to aid him in this species of warfare, with which he was not altogether so familiar as that in which he had acquired his reputation; his practice having been confined rather to the use of stone-headed arrows than love darts, and his dexterity in the management of hearts displayed rather in making bloody incisions, than tender impressions. Before he left the lodge, his retainers pledged themselves, that if the prosecution of this adventure should impose upon their chief the necessity of performing any feat, to render him better worthy the acceptance of Oon-yay-stee, they would aid him in its accomplishment, and sustain him against its consequences to the last extremity. It was reserved for so adventurous a spirit that it should be as successful in love, as it had hitherto been resistless in war.

After a courtship of a few days, he proposed himself and was conditionally accepted, but what the nature of this condition was, further than that it was indispensable, Oon-yay-stee refused to tell him, until he should have given her the strongest assurances that it should be complied with. After some hesitation and a consultation with the lovers who urged him to give the promise, he declared himself ready to accept the terms of the compact. Under her direction he then pledged the word of a warrior, that neither peril to person, nor sacrifice of affection should ever prevail with him to desist, imprecating the vengeance of Hau-men-dee-zhoo, and the persecution of Dairh-shoo-oo-roo-no upon his head if he failed to prosecute to the uttermost, the enterprise, if its accomplishment were only possible.

She told him to bring her the scalp of a Seneca chief whom she designated, who for some reason she chose not to reveal, was the object of her hatred.

The Wyandot saw too late, that he was committed. He besought her to reflect, that this man was his bosom friend, they had eaten and drank and grown up together—and how heavy it would make his heart to think that his friend had perished by his hand. He remonstrated with her on the cruelty of such a requisition, on the infamy of such an outrage of confidence and the execration which would forever pursue the author of an action so accursed. But his expostulations were made to deaf ears. She told him either to redeem his pledge, or consent to be proclaimed for a lying dog, whose promises were unworthy ever to be heard, and then left him.

[Pg 93]An hour had hardly elapsed, before the infuriated Wyandot blackened his face, entered the Seneca Village, tomahawked and scalped his friend, and as he rushed out of the lodge shouted the scalp-whoop. In the darkness of the night his person could not be distinguished, and he was challenged by a Seneca to whom he gave his name, purpose, and a defiance and then continued his flight. But before it had terminated, the long mournful scalp-whoop of the Senecas was resounding through the Wyandot Village; and the chief had hardly joined in the furious conflict that ensued between the avengers of his murdered victim and his own retainers, before he paid with his life the forfeit of his treachery.

After a deadly and sustained combat for three days and nights, with alternate success, the Wyandots were compelled to retire, deserting their village and abandoning their families to such mercy as might be granted by an infuriated enemy. Those who were left, sunk under the tomahawk and scalping knife—the village was devastated—and the miserable author of the bloody tragedy herself perished amid this scene of indiscriminate slaughter and desolation.

This war is said to have continued for a period of more than 30 years, in which time, the Wyandots had been forced backwards as far as Lakes Huron and Michigan. Here they made an obstinate stand, from which all the efforts of their relentless enemies to dislodge them were ineffectual. Their inveterate hatred of each other was fostered by the war parties of the respective tribes, whose vindictive feelings led them to hunt and destroy each other, like so many beasts of the forest. These resulted generally in favor of the Wyandots, who, inspirited by these partial successes, prepared for more active operations. Three encounters took place, on the same day, two being had on Lake Michigan and one on Lake Erie, and which from their savage and exterminating character, closed this long and merciless contest. It is somewhat remarkable, as no other tradition makes mention of an Indian battle upon water, that one of these, said to have occurred on Lake Erie, between Long Point and Fort Talbot, was fought in canoes. Of this the following detail is given.

A large body of Wyandots accompanied by two Ottawas left Lake Huron in birch canoes, on a war excursion into the country of the Senecas, who had settled at this time, near the head of the Niagara river. They put ashore at Long Point to cook, when one of the Ottawas and a Wyandot were sent out as spies to reconnoitre. They had proceeded but a short distance from the camp, when they met two Senecas, who had been despatched by their party for the like purposes, and from whom they instantly fled. The Ottawa finding his pursuers gaining upon him, hid himself in the branches of a spruce tree, where he remained till the Seneca had passed. The Wyandot, fleeter of foot, succeeded in reaching his camp and gave the alarm, when the whole body embarked and pushed out into the lake. In another moment a party of Senecas was discovered, turning[Pg 94] the nearest point of land in wooden canoes. Immediately the war-whoops were sounded and the hostile bands began to chant their respective songs. As they slowly approached each other, the Wyandots struck a fire, and prepared their gum and bark to repair any damage which might occur to the canoes. The battle was fought with bows and arrows, and after a furious and obstinate contest of some hours, in which the carnage was dreadful, and the canoes were beginning to fill with blood, water and mangled bodies, the Senecas began to give way. The encouraged Wyandots fought with redoubled ardor, driving the Senecas to the shore, where the conflict was renewed with unabated fury. The Wyandots were victorious, and few of the surviving Senecas escaped to tell the story of their defeat. One of the prisoners, a boy, was spared and adopted by the nation. Two Wyandots are now living who profess to have seen him, when very far advanced in years.

The two other attacks to which allusion has been made, as occurring on the borders of Lake Michigan, were not more fortunate in their issue. The Senecas were repulsed with great slaughter.

Thus, say the Wyandots, originated this long, bloody and disastrous war, and thus it terminated after proving nearly the ruin of our nation.


Upper Sandusky, March 1st, 1827.


The oldest books we possess written by the first observers of our Indians abound in interest. Among these is a small work by William Wood, who visited Plymouth and Massachusetts soon after their settlement, and published his "New England's Prospect," in London, in 1634.

The following extract from this book, (now very scarce,) we make here, partly for the purpose which the author declares he had in view in writing it, viz.: to excite the special interest of our female readers, though the good humour and wit, as well as the benevolence of the writer, will doubtless commend it to persons of both sexes. That we may not run the risk of losing any of the effect of the quaint, old-fashioned style of the original, we have been careful to preserve the author's orthography and punctuation, together with the long sentences, for which, as well as many of his contemporaries, he was remarkable. We have omitted short and unimportant passages in a few places, marked with asterisks.

[Pg 95]





There was a snail living on the banks of the river Missouri, where he found plenty of food, and wanted nothing. But at length the waters began to rise and overflow its banks, and although the little animal clung to a log, the flood carried them both away: they floated along for many days. When the water fell, the poor snail was left in the mud and slime, on shore. The heat of the sun came out so strong, that he was soon fixed in the slime and could not stir. He could no longer get any nourishment. He became oppressed with heat and drought. He resigned himself to his fate and prepared to die. But all at once, he felt a renewed vigour. His shell burst open, and he began to rise. His head gradually rose above the ground, he felt his lower extremities assuming the character of feet and legs. Arms extended from his sides. He felt their extremities divide into fingers. In fine he rose, under the influence of one day's sun, into a tall and noble man. For a while he remained in a dull and stupid state. He had but little activity, and no clear thoughts. These all came by degrees, and when his recollections returned, he resolved to travel back to his native land.

But he was naked and ignorant. The first want he felt was hunger. He saw beasts and birds, as he walked along, but he knew not how to kill them. He wished himself again a snail, for he knew how, in that form, to get his food. At length he became so weak, by walking and fasting, that he laid himself down, on a grassy bank, to die. He had not laid long, when he heard a voice calling him by name. "Was-bas-has," exclaimed the voice. He looked up, and beheld the Great Spirit sitting on a white horse. His eyes glistened like stars. The hair of his head shone like the sun. He could not bear to look upon him. He trembled from head to foot. Again the voice spoke to him in a mild tone "Was-bas-has! Why do you look terrified?" "I tremble," he replied, "because I stand before Him who raised me from the ground. I am faint[Pg 96] and hungry,—I have eaten nothing since the floods left me upon the shore—a little shell."

The Great Spirit here lifted up his hands and displaying a bow and arrows, told him to look at him. At a distance sat a bird on a tree. He put an arrow to the string, and pulling it with force, brought down the beautiful object. At this moment a deer came in sight. He placed another arrow to the string, and pierced it through and through. "These" said he, "are your food, and these are your arms," handing him the bow and arrows. He then instructed him how to remove the skin of the deer, and prepare it for a garment. "You are naked," said he, "and must be clothed; it is now warm, but the skies will change, and bring rains, and snow, and cold winds." Having said this, he also imparted the gift of fire, and instructed him how to roast the flesh. He then placed a collar of wampum around his neck. "This," said he, "is your authority over all beasts." Having done this, both horse and rider rose up, and vanished from his sight.

Was-bas-has refreshed himself, and now pursued his way to his native land. He had seated himself on the banks of the river, and was meditating on what had passed, when a large beaver rose up from the channel and addressed him. "Who art thou;" said the beaver, "that comest here to disturb my ancient reign?" "I am a man," he replied; "I was once a shell, a creeping shell; but who art thou?" "I am king of the nation of beavers," he answered: "I lead my people up and down this stream; we are a busy people, and the river is my dominion." "I must divide it with you," retorted Was-bas-has. "The Great Spirit has placed me at the head of beasts and birds, fishes and fowl; and has provided me with the power of maintaining my rights." Here he held up the bow and arrows, and displayed the collar of shells around his neck. "Come, come," said the Beaver, modifying his tone, "I perceive we are brothers.—Walk with me to my lodge, and refresh yourself after your journey," and so saying he led the way. The Snail-Man willingly obeyed his invitation, and had no reason to repent of his confidence. They soon entered a fine large village, and his host led him to the chief's lodge. It was a well-built room, of a cone-shape, and the floor nicely covered with mats. As soon as they were seated, the Beaver directed his wife and daughter to prepare food for their guest. While this was getting ready, the Beaver chief thought he would improve his opportunity by making a fast friend of so superior a being; whom he saw, at the same time, to be but a novice. He informed him of the method they had of cutting down trees, with their teeth, and of felling them across streams, so as to dam up the water, and described the method of finishing their dams with leaves and clay. He also instructed him in the way of erecting lodges, and with other wise and seasonable conversation beguiled the time. His wife and daughter now entered, bringing in vessels of fresh peeled poplar, and willow, and sassa[Pg 97]fras, and alder bark, which is the most choice food known to them. Of this, Was-bas-has made a merit of tasting, while his entertainer devoured it with pleasure. He was pleased with the modest looks and deportment of the chiefs daughter, and her cleanly and neat attire, and her assiduous attention to the commands of her father. This was ripened into esteem by the visit he made her. A mutual attachment ensued. A union was proposed to the father, who was rejoiced to find so advantageous a match for his daughter. A great feast was prepared, to which all the beavers, and other animals on good terms with them, were invited. The Snail-Man and the Beaver-Maid were thus united, and this union is the origin of the Osages. So it is said by the old people.

Indian Maiden Indian Maiden





[5] Blind Woman.

At the time when the animals reigned in the earth, they had killed all but a girl, and her little brother, and these two were living in fear and seclusion. The boy was a perfect pigmy, and never grew beyond the stature of a small infant; but the girl increased with her years, so that the labor of providing food and lodging devolved wholly on her. She went out daily to get wood for their lodge-fire, and took her little brother along that no accident might happen to him; for he was too little to leave alone. A big bird might have flown away with him. She made him a bow and arrows, and said to him one day, "I will leave you behind where I have been chopping—you must hide yourself, and you will soon see the Git-shee-gitshee-gaun, ai see-ug or snow birds, come and pick the worms out of the wood, where I have been chopping," (for it was in the winter.) "Shoot one of them and bring it home." He obeyed her, and tried his best to kill one, but came home unsuccessful. She told him he must not despair, but try again the next day. She accordingly left him at the place she got wood, and returned. Towards nightfall, she heard his little footsteps on the snow, and he came in exultingly, and threw down one of the birds, which he had killed. "My sister," said he, "I wish you to skin it and stretch the skin, and when I have killed more, I will have a coat made out of them." "But what shall we do with the body?" said she: for as yet men had not begun to eat animal food, but lived on vegetables alone. "Cut it in two," he answered, "and season our pottage with one half of it[Pg 98] at a time." She did so. The boy, who was of a very small stature, continued his efforts, and succeeded in killing ten birds, out of the skins of which his sister made him a little coat.

"Sister," said he one day, "are we all alone in the world? Is there nobody else living?" She told him that those they feared and who had destroyed their relatives lived in a certain quarter, and that he must by no means go in that direction. This only served to inflame his curiosity and raise his ambition, and he soon after took his bow and arrows and went in that direction. After walking a long time and meeting nothing, he became tired, and lay down on a knoll, where the sun had melted the snow. He fell fast asleep; and while sleeping, the sun beat so hot upon him, that it singed and drew up his bird-skin coat, so that when he awoke and stretched himself, he felt bound in it, as it were. He looked down and saw the damage done to his coat. He flew into a passion and upbraided the sun, and vowed vengeance against it, "Do not think you are too high," said he, "I shall revenge myself."

On coming home he related his disaster to his sister, and lamented bitterly the spoiling of his coat. He would not eat. He lay down as one that fasts, and did not stir, or move his position for ten days, though she tried all she could to arouse him. At the end of ten days, he turned over, and then lay ten days on the other side. When he got up, he told his sister to make him a snare, for he meant to catch the sun. She said she had nothing; but finally recollected a little piece of dried deer's sinew, that her father had left, which she soon made into a string suitable for a noose. But the moment she showed it to him, he told her it would not do, and bid her get something else. She said she had nothing—nothing at all. At last she thought of her hair, and pulling some of it out of her head, made a string. But he instantly said it would not answer, and bid her, pettishly, and with authority, make him a noose. She told him there was nothing to make it of, and went out of the lodge. She said to herself, when she had got without the lodge, and while she was all alone, "neow obewy indapin." This she did, and twisting them into a tiny cord she handed it to her brother. The moment he saw this curious braid he was delighted. "This will do," he said, and immediately put it to his mouth and began pulling it through his lips; and as fast as he drew it changed it into a red metal cord, which he wound around his body and shoulders, till he had a large quantity. He then prepared himself, and set out a little after midnight, that he might catch the sun before it rose. He fixed his snare on a spot just where the sun would strike the land, as it rose above the earth's disc; and sure enough, he caught the sun, so that it was held fast in the cord, and did not rise.

The animals who ruled the earth were immediately put into a great commotion. They had no light. They called a council to debate upon the matter, and to appoint some one to go and cut the cord—for this[Pg 99] was a very hazardous enterprize, as the rays of the sun would burn whoever came so near to them. At last the dormouse undertook it—for at this time the dormouse was the largest animal in the world. When it stood up it looked like a mountain. When it got to the place where the sun was snared, its back began to smoke and burn, with the intensity of the heat, and the top of its carcass was reduced to enormous heaps of ashes. It succeeded, however, in cutting the cord with its teeth, and freeing the sun, but it was reduced to a very small size, and has remained so ever since. Men call it the Kug-e-been-gwa-kwa.





Ampata Sapa was the wife of a brave young hunter and warrior, by whom she had two children. They lived together in great happiness, which was only varied by the changes of a forest life. Sometimes they lived on the prairies; sometimes they built their wigwam in the forest, near the banks of a stream, and they paddled their canoe up and down the rivers. In these trips they got fish, when they were tired of wild meats. In the summer season they kept on the open grounds; in the winter, they fixed their camp in a sheltered position, in the woods. The very change of their camp was a source of pleasure, for they were always on the lookout for something new. They had plenty, and they wanted nothing.

In this manner the first years of their marriage passed away. But it so happened, that as years went by, the reputation of her husband in the tribe increased, and he soon came to be regarded as a Weetshahstshy Atapee, or chief. This opened a new field for his ambition and pride. The fame of a chief, it is well known, is often increased by the number of his wives. His lodge was now thronged with visitors. Some came to consult him; some to gain his favour. All this gave Ampata Sapa no uneasiness, for the Red People like to have visitors, and to show hospitality. The first thing that caused a jar in her mind, was the rumour that her husband was about to take a new wife. This was like a poison in her veins; for she had a big heart. She was much attached to her husband, and she could not bear the idea of sharing his affections with another. But she found that the idea had already got strong hold of her husband's mind, and her remonstrances did little good. He defended himself on the ground, that it would give him greater influence in the tribe if he took the daughter of a noted[Pg 100] chief. But before he had time to bring her to his lodge, Ampata Sapa had fled from it, taking her two children, and returned to her father's lodge. Her father lived at some distance, and here she remained a short time in quiet. The whole band soon moved up the Mississippi, to their hunting ground. She was glad to go with them, and would, indeed, have been glad to go any where, to get farther from the lodge of her faithless husband.

Here the winter wore away. When the Spring opened, they came back again to the banks of the river, and mended and fitted up the canoes, which they had left in the fall. In these they put their furs, and descended to the Falls of St. Anthony. Ampata Sapa lingered behind a short time the morning of their embarkation, as they began to draw near the rapids which precede the great plunge. She then put her canoe in the water, and embarked with her children. As she approached the falls, the increasing velocity of the current rendered the paddles of but little use. She rested with her's suspended in her hands, while she arose, and uttered her lament:

"It was him only that I loved, with the love of my heart. It was for him that I prepared, with joy, the fresh killed meat, and swept with boughs my lodge-fire. It was for him I dressed the skin of the noble deer, and worked, with my hands, the Moccasins that graced his feet.

I waited while the sun ran his daily course, for his return from the chase, and I rejoiced in my heart when I heard his manly footsteps approach the lodge. He threw down his burden at the door—it was a haunch of the deer;—I flew to prepare the meat for his use.

My heart was bound up in him, and he was all the world to me. But he has left me for another, and life is now a burden which I cannot bear. Even my children add to my griefs—they look so much like him. How can I support life, when all its moments are bitter! I have lifted up my voice to the Master of life. I have asked him to take back that life, which he gave, and which I no longer wish. I am on the current that hastens to fulfil my prayer. I see the white foam of the water. It is my shroud. I hear the deep murmur from below. It is my funeral song. Farewell."

It was too late to arrest her course. She had approached too near the abyss, before her purpose was discovered by her friends. They beheld her enter the foam—they saw the canoe for an instant, on the verge, and then disappear for ever. Such was the end of Ampata Sapa; and they say her canoe can sometimes be seen, by moonlight, plunging over the falls.

Internal dissention has done more to destroy the Indian power in America, than the white man's sword. Could the tribes learn the wisdom of confederation, they might yet be saved. This is a problem now undergoing an interesting process of solution.

[Pg 101]





Great good luck once happened to a young woman who was living all alone in the woods, with nobody near her but her little dog, for, to her surprise, she found fresh meat every morning at her door. She felt very anxious to know who it was that supplied her, and watching one morning, very early, she saw a handsome young man deposit the meat. After his being seen by her, he became her husband, and she had a son by him. One day not long after this, the man did not return at evening, as usual, from hunting. She waited till late at night, but all in vain. Next day she swung her baby to sleep in its tikenágun, or cradle, and then said to her dog: "Take care of your brother whilst I am gone, and when he cries, halloo for me." The cradle was made of the finest wampum, and all its bandages and decorations were of the same costly material. After a short time the woman heard the cry of her faithful dog, and running home as fast as she could, she found her child gone and the dog too. But on looking round, she saw pieces of the wampum of her child's cradle bit off by the dog, who strove to retain the child and prevent his being carried off by an old woman called Mukakee Mindemoea, or the Toad-Woman. The mother followed at full speed, and occasionally came to lodges inhabited by old women, who told her at what time the thief had passed; they also gave her shoes, that she might follow on. There were a number of these old women, who seemed as if they were all prophetesses. Each of them would say to her, that when she arrived in pursuit of her stolen child at the next lodge, she must set the toes of the moccasins they had loaned her pointing homewards, and they would return of themselves. She would get others from her entertainers farther on, who would also give her directions how to proceed to recover her son. She thus followed in the pursuit, from valley to valley, and stream to stream, for months and years; when she came, at length, to the lodge of the last of the friendly old Nocoes, or grandmothers, as they were called, who gave her final instructions how to proceed. She told her she was near the place where her son was, and directed her to build a lodge of shingoob, or cedar boughs, near the old Toad-Woman's lodge, and to make a little bark dish and squeeze her milk into it. "Then," she said, "your first child (meaning the dog) will come and find you out." She did accordingly, and in a short time[Pg 102] she heard her son, now grown, going out to hunt, with his dog, calling out to him, "Monedo Pewaubik (that is, Steel or Spirit Iron,) Twee, Twee!" She then set ready the dish and filled it with her milk. The dog soon scented it and came into the lodge; she placed it before him. "See my child," said she, addressing him, "the food you used to have from me, your mother." The dog went and told his young master that he had found his real mother; and informed him that the old woman, whom he called his mother, was not his mother, that she had stolen him when an infant in his cradle, and that he had himself followed her in hopes of getting him back. The young man and his dog then went on their hunting excursion, and brought back a great quantity of meat of all kinds. He said to his pretended mother, as he laid it down, "Send some to the stranger that has arrived lately." The old hag answered, "No! why should I send to her—the Sheegowish."[6] He insisted; and she at last consented to take something, throwing it in at the door, with the remark, "My son gives you, or feeds you this." But it was of such an offensive nature, that she threw it immediately out after her.

[6] Sheegowiss, a widow, and mowigh, something nasty.

After this the young man paid the stranger a visit, at her lodge of cedar boughs, and partook of her dish of milk. She then told him she was his real mother, and that he had been stolen away from her by the detestable Toad-Woman, who was a witch. He was not quite convinced. She said to him, "Feign yourself sick, when you go home, and when the Toad-Woman asks what ails you, say that you want to see your cradle; for your cradle was of wampum, and your faithful brother, the dog, bit a piece off to try and detain you, which I picked up, as I followed in your track. They were real wampum, white and blue, shining and beautiful." She then showed him the pieces. He went home and did as his real mother bid him. "Mother," said he, "why am I so different in my looks from the rest of your children?" "Oh," said she, "it was a very bright clear blue sky when you were born; that is the reason." When the Toad-Woman saw he was ill, she asked what she could do for him. He said nothing would do him good, but the sight of his cradle. She ran immediately and got a cedar cradle; but he said, "That is not my cradle." She went and got one of her own children's cradles, (for she had four,) but he turned his head and said, "That is not mine." She then produced the real cradle, and he saw it was the same, in substance, with the pieces the other had shown him; and he was convinced, for he could even see the marks of the dog's teeth upon it.

He soon got well, and went out hunting, and killed a fat bear. He and his dog-brother then stripped a tall pine of all its branches, and stuck the carcass on the top, taking the usual sign of his having killed an animal—the tongue. He told the Toad-Woman where he had left it, saying, "It is very far, even to the end of the earth." She answered, "It is not so far[Pg 103] but I can get it," so off she set. As soon as she was gone, the young man and his dog killed the Toad-Woman's children, and staked them on each side of the door, with a piece of fat in their mouths, and then went to his real mother and hastened her departure with them. The Toad-Woman spent a long time in finding the bear, and had much ado in climbing the tree to get down the carcass. As she got near home, she saw the children looking out, apparently, with the fat in their mouths, and was angry at them, saying, "Why do you destroy the pomatum of your brother." But her fury was great indeed, when she saw they were killed and impaled. She ran after the fugitives as fast as she could, and was near overtaking them, when the young man said, "We are pressed hard, but let this stay her progress," throwing his fire steel behind him, which caused the Toad-Woman to slip and fall repeatedly. But still she pursued and gained on them, when he threw behind him his flint, which again retarded her, for it made her slip and stumble, so that her knees were bleeding; but she continued to follow on, and was gaining ground, when the young man said, "Let the Oshau shaw go min un (snake berry) spring up to detain her," and immediately these berries spread like scarlet all over the path for a long distance, which she could not avoid stooping down to pick and eat. Still she went on, and was again advancing on them, when the young man at last, said to the dog, "Brother, chew her into mummy, for she plagues us." So the dog, turning round, seized her and tore her to pieces, and they escaped.

Death is frightful, or welcome, according to the theories men have of it. To the Indian, it is a pleasing and welcome event. He believes a future state to be one of rewards, and restitutions, and not of punishments.

The Indian idea of paradise is the idea of the orientals. It consists of sensualities, not spiritualities. He expects the scene to furnish him ease and plenty. Ease and plenty make the Indian's happiness here, and his heaven is but a bright transcript of his earth.

Paganism and idolatry, require more mysteries for their support than Christianity. The Christian has but one God, existing in three hypostases. It would be below the truth to say that the Indian has one hundred thousand gods.

The Hindoos worship their multiform gods of the earth, air and sea. The North American Indian only believes in them. He worships the Great Spirit.

Wild thoughts are often bright thoughts, but like the wild leaps of a mountain torrent, they are evanescent and unequal. We are dazzled by a single figure in an Indian speech, but it is too often like a spark amid a shower of ashes.

[Pg 104]



Metoxon states, that the Shawnees were, in ancient times, while they lived in the south, defeated by a confederacy of surrounding tribes, and in danger of being totally cut off and annihilated, had it not been for the interference of the Mohegans and Delawares. An alliance between them and the Mohegans, happened in this way. Whilst the Mohegans lived at Schodack, on the Hudson river, a young warrior of that tribe visited the Shawnees, at their southern residence, and formed a close friendship with a young warrior of his own age. They became as brothers, and vowed for ever to treat each other as such.

The Mohegan warrior had returned, and been some years living with his nation, on the banks of the Chatimac, or Hudson, when a general war broke out against the Shawnees. The restless and warlike disposition of this tribe, kept them constantly embroiled with their neighbours. They were unfaithful to their treaties, and this was the cause of perpetual troubles and wars. At length the nations of the south resolved, by a general effort, to rid themselves of so troublesome a people, and began a war, in which the Shawnees were defeated, battle after battle, with great loss. In this emergency, the Mohegan thought of his Shawnee brother, and resolved to rescue him. He raised a war-party and being joined by the Lenapees, since called Delawares, they marched to their relief, and brought off the remnant of the tribe to the country of the Lenapees. Here they were put under the charge of the latter, as their grandfather.

They were now, in the Indian phrase, put between their grandfather's knees, and treated as little children. Their hands were clasped and tied together—that is to say, they were taken under their protection, and formed a close alliance. But still, sometimes the child would creep out[Pg 105] under the old man's legs, and get into trouble—implying that the Shawnees could never forget their warlike propensities.

The events of the subsequent history of this tribe, after the settlement of America are well known. With the Lenapees, or Delawares, they migrated westward.

The above tradition was received from the respectable and venerable chief, above named, in 1827, during the negotiation of the treaty of Buttes des Morts, on Fox river. At this treaty his people, bearing the modern name of Stockbridges, were present, having, within a few years, migrated from their former position in Oneida county, New York, to the waters of Fox river, in Wisconsin.

Metoxon was a man of veracity, and of reflective and temperate habits, united to urbanity of manners, and estimable qualities of head and heart, as I had occasion to know from several years' acquaintance with him, before he, and his people went from Vernon to the west, as well as after he migrated thither.

The tradition, perhaps with the natural partiality of a tribesman, lays too much stress upon a noble and generous act of individual and tribal friendship, but is not inconsistent with other relations, of the early southern position, and irrascible temper of the Shawnee tribe. Their name itself, which is a derivative from O-shá-wan-ong, the place of the South, is strong presumptive evidence of a former residence in, or origin from, the extreme south. Mr. John Johnston, who was for many years the government agent of this tribe at Piqua, in Ohio, traces them, in an article in the Archælogia Americana (vol. 1, p. 273) to the Suwanee river in Florida. Mr. Gallatin, in the second volume of the same work (p. 65) points out their track, from historical sources of undoubted authority, to the banks of the upper Savannah, in Georgia; but remarks that they have only been well known to us since 1680. They are first mentioned in our scattered Indian annals, by De Laet, in 1632.

It may further be said in relation to Metoxon's tradition, that there is authority for asserting, that in the flight of the Shawnees from the south, a part of them descended the Kentucky river west, to the Ohio valley, where, in after times, the Shawnees of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, rather formed a re-union with this division of their kindred than led the way for them.

To depart one step from barbarism, is to take one step towards civilization. To abandon the lodge of bark—to throw aside the blanket—to discontinue the use of paints—or to neglect the nocturnal orgies of the wabeno, are as certain indications of incipient civilization, as it unquestionably is, to substitute alphabetical characters for rude hieroglyphics, or to prefer the regular cadences of the gamut, to the wild chanting of the chichigwun.

[Pg 106]




There was once a man who found himself alone in the world. He knew not whence he came, nor who were his parents, and he wandered about from place to place, in search of something. At last he became wearied and fell asleep. He dreamed that he heard a voice saying, "Nosis," that is, my grandchild. When he awoke he actually heard the word repeated, and looking around, he saw a tiny little animal hardly big enough to be seen on the plain. While doubting whether the voice could come from such a diminutive source, the little animal said to him, "My grandson, you will call me Bosh-kwa-dosh. Why are you so desolate. Listen to me, and you shall find friends and be happy. You must take me up and bind me to your body, and never put me aside, and success in life shall attend you." He obeyed the voice, sewing up the little animal in the folds of a string, or narrow belt, which he tied around his body, at his navel. He then set out in search of some one like himself, or other object. He walked a long time in woods without seeing man or animal. He seemed all alone in the world. At length he came to a place where a stump was cut, and on going over a hill he descried a large town in a plain. A wide road led through the middle of it; but what seemed strange was, that on one side there were no inhabitants in the lodges, while the other side was thickly inhabited. He walked boldly into the town.

The inhabitants came out and said; "Why here is the being we have heard so much of—here is Anish-in-á-ba. See his eyes, and his teeth in a half circle—see the Wyaukenawbedaid! See his bowels, how they are formed;"—for it seems they could look through him. The king's son, the Mudjékewis, was particularly kind to him, and calling him brother-in-law, commanded that he should be taken to his father's lodge and received with attention. The king gave him one of his daughters. These people, (who are supposed to be human, but whose rank in the scale of being is left equivocal,) passed much of their time in play and sports and trials of various kinds. When some time had passed, and he had become re[Pg 107]freshed and rested, he was invited to join in these sports. The first test which they put him to, was the trial of frost. At some distance was a large body of frozen water, and the trial consisted in lying down naked on the ice, and seeing who could endure the longest. He went out with two young men, who began, by pulling off their garments, and lying down on their faces. He did likewise, only keeping on the narrow magic belt with the tiny little animal sewed in it; for he felt that in this alone was to be his reliance and preservation. His competitors laughed and tittered during the early part of the night, and amused themselves by thoughts of his fate. Once they called out to him, but he made no reply. He felt a manifest warmth given out by his belt. About midnight finding they were still, he called out to them, in return,—"What!" said he, "are you benumbed already, I am but just beginning to feel a little cold." All was silence. He, however, kept his position till early day break, when he got up and went to them. They were both quite dead, and frozen so hard, that the flesh had bursted out under their finger nails, and their teeth stood out. As he looked more closely, what was his surprise to find them both transformed into buffalo cows. He tied them together, and carried them towards the village. As he came in sight, those who had wished his death were disappointed, but the Mudjékewis, who was really his friend, rejoiced. "See!" said he "but one person approaches,—it is my brother-in-law." He then threw down the carcasses in triumph, but it was found that by their death he had restored two inhabitants to the before empty lodges, and he afterwards perceived, that every one of these beings, whom he killed, had the like effect, so that the depopulated part of the village soon became filled with people.

The next test they put him to, was the trial of speed. He was challenged to the race ground, and began his career with one whom he thought to be a man; but every thing was enchanted here, for he soon discovered that his competitor was a large black bear. The animal outran him, tore up the ground, and sported before him, and put out its large claws as if to frighten him. He thought of his little guardian spirit in the belt, and wishing to have the swiftness of the Kakake, i.e. sparrow hawk, he found himself rising from the ground, and with the speed of this bird he outwent his rival, and won the race, while the bear came up exhausted and lolling out his tongue. His friend the Mudjékewis stood ready, with his war-club, at the goal, and the moment the bear came up, dispatched him. He then turned to the assembly, who had wished his friend and brother's death, and after reproaching them, he lifted up his club and began to slay them on every side. They fell in heaps on all sides; but it was plain to be seen, the moment they fell, that they were not men, but animals,—foxes, wolves, tigers, lynxes, and other kinds, lay thick around the Mudjékewis.

Still the villagers were not satisfied. They thought the trial of frost,[Pg 108] had not been fairly accomplished, and wished it repeated. He agreed to repeat it, but being fatigued with the race, he undid his guardian belt, and laying it under his head, fell asleep. When he awoke, he felt refreshed, and feeling strong in his own strength, he went forward to renew the trial on the ice, but quite forgot the belt, nor did it at all occur to him when he awoke, or when he lay down to repeat the trial. About midnight his limbs became stiff, the blood soon ceased to circulate, and he was found in the morning, a stiff corpse. The victors took him up and carried him to the village, where the loudest tumult of victorious joy was made, and they cut the body into a thousand pieces, that each one might eat a piece.

The Mudjékewis bemoaned his fate, but his wife was inconsolable. She lay in a state of partial distraction, in the lodge. As she lay here, she thought she heard some one groaning. It was repeated through the night, and in the morning, she carefully scanned the place, and running her fingers through the grass, she discovered the secret belt, on the spot where her husband had last reposed. "Aubishin!" cried the belt—that is, untie me, or unloose me. Looking carefully, she found the small seam which enclosed the tiny little animal. It cried out the more earnestly "Aubishin!" and when she had carefully ripped the seams, she beheld, to her surprise, a minute, naked little beast, smaller than the smallest new born mouse, without any vestige of hair, except at the tip of its tail, it could crawl a few inches, but reposed from fatigue. It then went forward again. At each movement it would pupowee, that is to say, shake itself, like a dog, and at each shake it became larger. This it continued until it acquired the strength and size of a middle sized dog, when it ran off.

The mysterious dog ran to the lodges, about the village, looking for the bones of his friend, which he carried to a secret place, and as fast as he found them arranged all in their natural order. At length he had formed all the skeleton complete, except the heel bone of one foot. It so happened that two sisters were out of the camp, according to custom, at the time the body was cut up, and this heel was sent out to them. The dog hunted every lodge, and being satisfied that it was not to be found in the camp, he sought it outside of it, and found the lodge of the two sisters. The younger sister was pleased to see him, and admired and patted the pretty dog, but the elder sat mumbling the very heel-bone he was seeking, and was surly and sour, and repelled the dog, although he looked most wistfully up in her face, while she sucked the bone from one side of her mouth to the other. At last she held it in such a manner that it made her cheek stick out, when the dog, by a quick spring, seized the cheek, and tore cheek and bone away and fled.

He now completed the skeleton, and placing himself before it, uttered a hollow, low, long-drawn-out-howl, when the bones came compactly together. He then modulated his howl, when the bones knit together and[Pg 109] became tense. The third howl brought sinews upon them, and the fourth, flesh. He then turned his head upwards, looking into the sky, and gave a howl, which caused every one in the village to startle, and the ground itself to tremble, at which the breath entered into his body, and he first breathed and then arose. "Hy kow!" I have overslept myself, he exclaimed, "I will be too late for the trial." "Trial!" said the dog, "I told you never to let me be separate from your body, you have neglected this. You were defeated, and your frozen body cut into a thousand pieces, and scattered over the village, but my skill has restored you. Now I will declare myself to you, and show who and what I am!"

He then began to PUPOWEE, or shake himself, and at every shake, he grew. His body became heavy and massy, his legs thick and long, with big clumsy ends, or feet. He still shook himself, and rose and swelled. A long snout grew from his head, and two great shining teeth out of his mouth. His skin remained as it was, naked, and only a tuft of hair grew on his tail. He rose up above the trees. He was enormous. "I should fill the earth," said he, "were I to exert my utmost power, and all there is on the earth would not satisfy me to eat. Neither could it fatten me or do me good. I should want more. It were useless, therefore, and the gift I have, I will bestow on you. The animals shall henceforth be your food. They were not designed to feed on man, neither shall they hereafter do it, but shall feed him, and he only shall prey on beasts. But you will respect me, and not eat my kind."

[The preceding is a traditionary tale of Maidosegee, an aged and respected hunter, of Sault-ste-Mairie, who was the ruling chief of the band of Chippewas at those falls, and the progenitor of the present line of ruling chiefs. It is preserved through the Johnston family, where he was a frequent guest, prior to 1810, and was happy to while away many of his winter's evenings, in return for the ready hospitalities which were sure to await him at the house of the Indian's friend.]






Mäsh-kwa-sha-kwong, was a first rate hunter, and he loved the chase exceedingly, and pursued it with unceasing vigilance. One day, on his return home, arriving at his lodge, he was informed by his two sons, who were but small then, that they were very lonesome, because their mother was in the habit of daily leaving them alone, and this occurred so soon as[Pg 110] he started upon his daily chase. This circumstance was not unknown to Mäsh-kwa-sha-kwong, but he seemed fully aware of it; he took his boys in his arms and kissed them, and told them that their mother behaved improperly and was acting the part of a wicked and faithless woman. But Mäsh-kwa-sha-kwong behaved towards his wife as if ignorant of her vile course. One morning rising very early, he told his sons to take courage, and that they must not be lonesome, he also strictly enjoined them not to absent themselves nor quit their lodge; after this injunction was given to the boys, he made preparations, and starting much earlier than usual, he travelled but a short distance from his lodge, when he halted and secreted himself. After waiting a short time, he saw his wife coming out of their lodge, and immediately after a man made his appearance and meeting Mäsh-kwa-sha-kwong's wife, they greeted one another. His suspicions were now confirmed, and when he saw them in the act of carrying on an illegal intercourse, his anger arose, he went up to them and killed them with one blow; he then dragged them both to his lodge, and tying them together, he dug a hole beneath the fire-place in his lodge and buried them. He then told his sons that it was necessary that he should go away, as he would surely be killed if he remained, and their safety would depend upon their ability of keeping the matter a secret. He gave his eldest son a small bird, (Kichig-e-chig-aw-na-she) to roast for his small brother over the ashes and embers where their mother was buried, he also provided a small leather bag, and then told his sons the necessity of his immediate flight to heaven, or to the skies. And that it would be expedient for them to fly and journey southward, and thus prepared their minds for the separation about to take place. "By and bye," said Mäsh-kwa-sha-kwong to his sons, "persons will come to you and enquire for me and for your mother, you will say to them that I am gone hunting, and your little brother in the mean time will continually point to the fire place, this will lead the persons to whom I allude, to make inquiries of the cause of this pointing, and you will tell them that you have a little bird roasting for your brother, this will cause them to desist from further inquiry at the time. As soon as they are gone escape! While you are journeying agreeably to my instructions, I will look from on high upon you, I will lead and conduct you, and you shall hear my voice from day to day." Mäsh-kwa-sha-kwong at this time gave his sons an awl, a beaver's tooth, and a hone, also a dry coal, and directed them to place a small piece of the coal on the ground every evening, so soon as they should encamp, from which fire would be produced and given to them; he told his eldest son to place his brother in the leather bag, and in that manner carry him upon his back; he then bade them farewell.

The two boys being thus left alone in the lodge, and while in the act of roasting the little bird provided for them, a man came in, and then another, and another, until they numbered ten in all; the youngest boy[Pg 111] would from time to time point at the fire, and the men enquired to know the reason, the eldest boy said that he was roasting a bird for his brother, and digging the ashes produced it. They enquired, where their father and mother were, the boy answered them saying, that their father was absent hunting, and that their mother had gone to chop and collect wood; upon this information the men rose and searched around the outskirts of the lodge, endeavouring to find traces of the man and his wife, but they were not successful, and returned to the lodge. Before this, however, and during the absence of the ten men, Mäsh-kwa-sha-kwong's eldest son placed his little brother in the leather bag, (Ouskemood,) and ran away southward.

One of the ten men observed, that the smallest boy had repeatedly pointed to the fire place, and that they might find out something by digging; they set to work, and found the woman and the man tied together. On this discovery their wrath was kindled, they brandished their weapons, denouncing imprecations upon Mäsh-kwa-sha-kwong, who was of course suspected of having committed the deed.

The ten men again renewed their search in order to avenge themselves upon the perpetrator of this dark deed, but Mäsh-kwa-sha-kwong, in order to avoid instant death, had sought a large hollow tree, and entering at the bottom or root part, passed through and reached the top of it, from whence he took his flight upwards to the sky. His pursuers finally traced him, and followed him as far as the tree, and into the sky, with loud and unceasing imprecations of revenge and their determination to kill him. The spirit of the mother alone followed her children. About mid-day the boys heard, as they ran, a noise in the heavens like the rolling of distant thunder.[7] The boys continued their journey south, when the noise ceased; towards night they encamped; they put a small piece of the coal on the ground, then a log of fire-wood was dropped down from the skies to them, from whence a good blazing fire was kindled. This was done daily, and when the fire was lit, a raccoon would fall from on high upon the fire, and in this manner the boys were fed, and this over-ruling care they experienced daily. In the evenings at their camping place, and sometimes during the day, the Red Head's voice was heard speaking to his children, and encouraging them to use their utmost exertions to fly from the pursuit of their mother. To aid them in escaping, they were told to throw away their awl, and immediately there grew a strong and almost impassable hedge of thorn bushes behind them, in their path, which the pursuing mother could scarcely penetrate, and thus impeding her pro[Pg 112]gress, tearing away her whole body and leaving nothing but the head. So they escaped the first day.

[7] Note by Mr. George Johnston, from whom this tale was received.—Any thing of the kind, or a similar noise heard, is attributed by the Indian, to this day, as an indication of the contention between Mäsh-kwa-sha-kwong and his pursuers, and hence a prelude to wars and contentions among the nations of the world.

The next day they resumed their march and could distinctly hear the noise of combat in the sky, as if it were a roaring thunder; they also heard the voice of their mother behind them, desiring her eldest son to stop and wait for her, saying that she wished to give the breast to his brother; then again Mäsh-kwa-sha-kwong's voice, encouraging his sons to fly for their lives, and saying that if their mother overtook them she would surely kill them.

In the evening of the second day the boys prepared to encamp, and the noise of combat on high ceased; on placing a small piece of the coal on the ground, a log and some fire-wood was let down as on the preceding night, and the fire was kindled, and then the raccoon placed on it for their food. This was fulfilling the promise made by their father, that they would be provided for during their flight. The beaver's tooth was here thrown away, and this is the cause why the northern country now abounds with beaver, and also the innumerable little lakes and marshes, and consequently the rugged and tedious travelling now experienced.

On the third day the boys resumed their flight, and threw away their hone, and it became a high rocky mountainous ridge, the same now seen on the north shore of these straits, (St. Mary's) which was a great obstacle in the way of the woman of the Head, for this was now her name, because that part alone remained of her whole frame, and with it she was incessantly uttering determinations to kill her eldest son; the boys finally reached the fishing place known as the eddy of Wah-zah-zhawing, at the rapids of Bawating, situated on the north shore of the river. Here Mäsh-kwa-sha-kwong, told his sons that he had himself been overtaken in his flight by his pursuers and killed, and he appeared to them in the shape of a red headed wood-pecker, or a mama. This is a bird that is seldom or never attacked by birds of prey, for no vestiges of his remains are ever seen or found by the Indian hunter. "Now my sons," said the red headed wood-pecker, "I have brought you to this river, you will now see your grand father and he will convey you across to the opposite side." Then the boys looked to the southern shore of the river, and they saw in the middle of the rapid, an Oshuggay standing on a rock; to the Oshuggay the boys spoke, and accosted him as their grand father, requesting him to carry them across the river Bawating. The Oshuggay stretching his long neck over the river to the place where the boys stood, told them to get upon his head and neck, and again stretching to the southern shore, he landed the boys in safety, upon a prairie: the crane was seen walking in state, up and down the prairie.

The persevering mother soon arrived at Wah-zah-hawing, and immediately requested the Oshuggay to cross her over, that she was in pur[Pg 113]suit of her children and stating that she wished to overtake them; but the Oshuggay seemed well aware of her character, and objected to conveying her across, giving her to understand that she was a lewd and bad woman; he continued giving her a long moral lecture upon the course she had pursued and the bad results to mankind in consequence, such as quarrels, murders, deaths, and hence widowhood.

The woman of the Head persisted in her request of being conveyed across. Objections and entreaties followed. She talked as if she were still a woman, whose favour was to be sought; and he, as if he were above such favours. After this dialogue the Oshuggay said that he would convey her across, on the condition that she would adhere strictly to his injunctions; he told her not to touch the bare part of his head, but to get upon the hollow or crooked part of his neck; to this she agreed, and got on. The Oshuggay then withdrew his long neck to about half way across, when feeling that she had forgotten her pledge he dashed her head upon the rocks, and the small fish, that were so abundant instantly fed upon the brain and fragments of the skull and became large white fish. "A fish" said the Oshuggay, "that from this time forth shall be abundant, and remain in these rapids to feed the Indians and their issue, from generation to generation."[8]

[8] The small white shells that the white fish live upon, and the white substance found in its gizzard are to this day considered by the Indians, the brain and skull of the woman of the Head.

After this transaction of the Oshuggay's, landing the boys safely across, and dashing the woman's head upon the rocks, he spake to the Crane and mutually consulting one another in relation to Mäsh-kwa-sha-kwong's sons they agreed to invite two women from the eastward, of the tribe of the Wassissig, and the two lads took them for wives. The Oshuggay plucked one of his largest wing feathers and gave it to the eldest boy, and the Crane likewise did the same, giving his feathers to the youngest; they were told to consider the feathers as their sons after this, one feather appeared like an Oshuggay and the other like a young Crane. By and by they appeared like human beings to the lads. Thus the alliance was formed with the Wassissig, and the circumstance of the Oshuggay and Crane interesting themselves in behalf of the boys and the gift to them of their feathers and the result, is the origin of the Indian Totem.

Here Mäsh-kwa-sha-kwong's sons were told that they would be considered as chieftains and that this office would be hereditary and continue in their generations. After this, they multiplied exceedingly and became strong and powerful. About this time the Obinangoes, (or the Bears' Totem) came down from Shaugah-wah-mickong, near the extremity of Lake Superior. On their way eastward they were surprised on reaching Bawating to find such a numerous population of human beings: they were[Pg 114] not aware of its being in existence; fear came upon the Obinangoes, and they devised the plan of securing friendship with the Oshuggays and Cranes, by adopting and claiming a relationship with them, and calling them their grandsons. This claim was yielded, and they were permitted to remain at Bawaiting upon the score of relationship thus happily attained. The Obenangoes eventually emigrated eastward and settled upon the northern coast of Lakes Huron and Ontario.

Population increased so rapidly at Bawaiting, that it was necessary to form new villages, some settling on the Garden River, some upon the Pakaysaugauegan River, and others upon the island of St. Joseph's, and upon the Menashkong Bay and Mashkotay Saugie River.

About this time, a person in the shape of a human being came down from the sky; his clothing was exceedingly pure and white; he was seated as it were in a nest, with a very fine cord attached to it, by which this mysterious person was let down, and the cord or string reached heaven. He addressed the Indians in a very humane, mild, and compassionate tone, saying that they were very poor and needy, but telling them that they were perpetually asleep, and this was caused by the Mache Monedo who was in the midst of them, and leading them to death and ruin.

This mysterious personage informed them also that above, where he came from, there was no night, that the inhabitants never slept, that it was perpetually day and they required no sleep; that Kezha Monedo was their light. He then invited four of the Indians to ascend up with him promising that they would be brought back in safety; that an opportunity would thereby present itself to view the beauty of the sky, or heavens. But the Indians doubted and feared lest the cord should break, because it appeared to them so small. They did not believe it possible it could bear their weight. With this objection they excused themselves. They were, however, again assured that the cord was sufficiently strong and that Kezha Monedo had the power to make it so. Yet the Indians doubted and feared, and did not accompany the messenger sent down to them. After this refusal the mysterious person produced a small bow and arrows with which he shot at the Indians in different parts of their bodies: the result was, the killing of multitudes of small white worms, which he showed to them; telling them that they were the Mache Monedo which caused them to sleep, and prevented their awakening from their death-like state.

This divine messenger then gave to the Indians laws and rules, whereby they should be guided: first, to love and fear Kezha Monedo, and next that they must love one another, and be charitable and hospitable; and finally, that they must not covet their neighbours property, but acquire it by labour and honest industry. He then instituted the grand medicine or metay we win dance: this ceremony was to be observed annually, and with due solemnity, and the Indians, said Nabinoi, experienced much good from it; but unfortunately, the foolish young men were cheated by Mache[Pg 115] Monedo, who caused them to adopt the Wabano dance and its ceremonies. This latter is decidedly an institution of the sagemaus, or evil spirits, and this was finally introduced into the metay we wining, (i.e. medicine dance) and thereby corrupted it.

The old chief continued his moral strain thus: While the Indians were instructed by the heavenly messenger they were told that it would snow continually for the space of five years, winter and summer, and the end would then be nigh at hand; and again that it would rain incessantly as many winters and summers more, which would cause the waters to rise and overflow the earth, destroying trees and all manner of vegetation. After this, ten winters and summers of drought would follow, drying up the land, and mostly the lakes and rivers; not a cloud would be seen during this period. The earth would become so dry, that it will then burn up with fire of itself, and it will also burn the waters to a certain depth, until it attains the first created earth and waters. Then the good Indians will rise from death to enjoy a new earth, filled with an abundance of all manner of living creatures. The only animal which will not be seen is the beaver. The bad Indians will not enjoy any portion of the new earth; they will be condemned and given to the evil spirits.

Four generations, he went on to say, have now passed away, since that brotherly love and charity, formerly known, still existed among the Indians. There was in those ancient times an annual meeting among the Indians, resembling the French New Year's Day, which was generally observed on the new moon's first appearance, Gitchy Monedo gesus. The Indians of our village would visit these of another, and sometimes meet one another dancing; and on those occasions they would exchange bows and arrows, their rude axes, awls, and kettles, and their clothing. This was an annual festival, which was duly observed by them. In those days the Indians lived happy; but every thing is now changed to the Indian mind, indicating the drawing near and approach of the end of time. The Indians who still adhere to the laws of the heavenly messenger experience happiness; and, on the contrary, concluded the old man, those who are wicked and adhere to the Wabano institution, generally meet with their reward; and it is singular to say that they generally come to their end by accidents, such as drowning, or miserable deaths.

He then reverted to the former part of his story. The Oshuggays, and the Cranes quarrelled, and this quarrel commenced on a trivial point. It appears that the Cranes took a pole, without leave, from the Oshuggays, and they broke the pole; this circumstance led to a separation. The Oshuggays emigrated south, and are now known as the Shawnees.

[Pg 116]





There was an old hag of a woman living with her daughter-in-law and son, and a little orphan boy, whom she was bringing up. When her son-in-law came home from hunting, it was his custom to bring his wife the moose's lip, the kidney of the bear, or some other choice bits of different animals. These she would cook crisp, so as to make a sound with her teeth in eating them. This kind attention of the hunter to his wife, at last, excited the envy of the old woman. She wished to have the same luxuries, and in order to get them she finally resolved to make way with her son's wife. One day, she asked her to leave her infant son to the care of the orphan boy, and come out and swing with her. She took her to the shore of a lake, where there was a high range of rocks overhanging the water. Upon the top of this rock, she erected a swing. She then undressed, and fastened a piece of leather around her body, and commenced swinging, going over the precipice at every swing. She continued it but a short time, when she told her daughter to do the same. The daughter obeyed. She undressed, and tying the leather string as she was directed, began swinging. When the swing had got in full motion and well a going, so that it went clear beyond the precipice, at every sweep, the old woman slyly cut the cords and let her daughter drop into the lake. She then put on her daughter's clothing, and thus disguised went home in the dusk of the evening and counterfeited her appearance and duties. She found the child crying, and gave it the breast, but it would not draw. The orphan boy asked her where its mother was. She answered, "She is still swinging." He said, "I shall go and look for her." "No!" said she, "you must not—what should you go for?" When the husband came in, in the evening, he gave the coveted morsel to his supposed wife. He missed his mother-in-law, but said nothing. She eagerly ate the dainty, and tried to keep the child still. The husband looked rather astonished to see his wife studiously averting her face, and asked her why the child cried so. She said, she did not know—that it would not draw.

In the meantime the orphan boy went to the lake shores, and found no one. He mentioned his suspicions, and while the old woman was out getting wood, he told him all that he had heard or seen. The man then[Pg 117] painted his face black, and placed his spear upside down in the earth and requested the Great Spirit to send lightning, thunder, and rain, in the hope that the body of his wife might arise from the water. He then began to fast, and told the boy to take the child and play on the lake shore.

We must now go back to the swing. After the wife had plunged into the lake, she found herself taken hold of by a water tiger, whose tail twisted itself round her body, and drew her to the bottom. There she found a fine lodge, and all things ready for her reception, and she became the wife of the water tiger. Whilst the children were playing along the shore, and the boy was casting pebbles into the lake, he saw a gull coming from its centre, and flying towards the shore, and when on shore, the bird immediately assumed the human shape. When he looked again he recognized the lost mother. She had a leather belt around her loins, and another belt of white metal, which was, in reality, the tail of the water tiger, her husband. She suckled the babe, and said to the boy—"Come here with him, whenever he cries, and I will nurse him."

The boy carried the child home, and told these things to the father. When the child again cried, the father went also with the boy to the lake shore, and hid himself in a clump of trees. Soon the appearance of a gull was seen, with a long shining belt, or chain, and as soon as it came to the shore, it assumed the mother's shape, and began to suckle the child. The husband had brought along his spear, and seeing the shining chain, he boldly struck it and broke the links apart. He then took his wife and child home, with the orphan boy. When they entered the lodge, the old woman looked up, but it was a look of despair, she instantly dropped her head. A rustling was heard in the lodge, and the next moment, she leaped up, and flew out of the lodge, and was never heard of more.

The name of God, among the ancient Mexicans, was Teo, a word seldom found, except in compound phrases. Among the Mohawks and Onondagas, it is Neo. With the western Senecas, as given by Smith, Owayneo. With the Odjibwas, Monedo; with the Ottowas, Maneto. Many modifications of the word by prefixes, to its radix Edo, appear among the cognate dialects. It is remarkable that there is so striking a similarity in the principal syllable, and it is curious to observe that Edo is, in sound, both the Greek term Deo, and the Azteek Teo, transposed. Is there any thing absolutely fixed in the sounds of languages?

[Pg 118]





Most of the individuals who have figured amongst the Red Race in America, have appeared under circumstances which have precluded any thing like a full and consistent biography. There is, in truth, but little in savage life, to furnish materials for such biographies. The very scantiness of events determines this. A man suddenly appears among these tribes as a warrior, a negotiator, an orator, or a prophet, by a name that nobody ever before heard of. He excites attention for a short time, and then sinks back into the mass of Indian society, and is no more heard of. His courage, his eloquence, or his diplomatic skill, are regarded as evidences of talent, and energy of thought or action, which, under better auspices, might have produced a shining and consistent character. But he has been left by events, and is sunk in the mass. He appeared rather like an erratic body, or flash, than a fixed light amid his people. The circumstances that brought him into notice have passed away. A victory has been won, a speech made, a noble example given. The affair has been adjusted, the tribe resumed its hunting, or corn-planting, or wandering, or internal discords, and the new name, which promised for a while to raise a Tamerlane, or Tippoo Saib in the west, settles down in the popular mind; and if it be not wholly lost, is only heard of now and then, as one of the signatures to some land treaty. There is not, in fact, sufficient, in the population, military strength, or importance of the affairs of most of our tribes, to work out incidents for a sustained and full biography. Even the most considerable personages of past times, who have been honoured with such full notices, have too much resemblance to a stout boy in his father's regimentals. They hang loosely about him. The most that can be done—all indeed which the occasion requires in general—is a sketch of such particular events, in aboriginal history, as the individual has connected his name with. It is proposed in the progress of this work, to furnish some of such sketches from the unwritten annals of the west and the north.

Among that class of aboriginal chiefs and actors, who have not risen to the highest distinction, or attained general notoriety out of the circle of their own tribes, was Takozid, or the Short-Foot; a Mukundwa, or pillager; a fierce, warlike, and predatory tribe of the Odjibwa Algonquin[Pg 119] stock, who, at an early time seated themselves on the sources of the Mississippi, making their head quarters at Leech Lake. To this place, their traditions assert, they came from Chagoimegon, or still farther east, prior to the discovery of the country by Europeans. They were consequently intruders in, or conquerors of the country, and drove back some other people. It seems equally probable that this people were the Dacotahs, the Naddowassies, or as it is abbreviated, Sioux, of early French writers. The Sioux are a numerous and warlike stock, who occupy portions of the banks of the Missouri and the Mississippi, at, and about the latitude of St. Anthony's Falls. A hereditary war of which "the memory of man runneth not to the contrary," was the consequence of this ancient inroad. Of all this region of country we can speak from personal knowledge, having traversed it at sundry times, and in various directions. It is in local reminiscence, little more than a widely extended scene of Indian battles, ambuscades and murders. There is hardly a prominent stream, plain or forest, which is not referred to, as the traveller proceeds, as the particular locality of some fight, tragedy, or hair-breadth escape among the Red Men. The Olympic games were not a surer test of fame in successful rivalry, than is this wide area of aboriginal warfare, for the opposing nations of the Sioux and Chippewas. War is the prime avenue to distinction to the Indian mind. As soon as a hunter has acquired any distinction, and begins to look upon himself as a person of courage and address, he turns his efforts to the war path. Whatever else he is famous for, this is the crowning test and seal of his reputation. And none have pursued it with more incessant devotion than the Chippewas.

Takozid determined from his earliest youth to take a part in the strife for barbaric glory. He early joined the war parties going into the great plains. He learned their arts, repeated their songs, and became expert in all the warrior's arts. He established the reputation of a brave young man. The next step was to lead a war party himself. He courted popularity by generosity, self denial, and attention to their religious rites and ceremonies. These things may be done on a smaller scale, as effectually among a band of savages, as in the hall or forum. He succeeded. He raised a war party, conducted it into the plains, discovered his enemies, approached them slyly, fell upon them, defeated them, and returned in triumph with their scalps to his village. His deep and hollow CHE KWAN DUM, or death-cry of victory as he came to the eminence which overlooked his village, announced all this before he set foot in his village: and the number of his scalps.

These exploits placed him on the pinnacle of fame. It is a curious fact, in the lives of our Red men, to observe that war is a stimulus to poligamy. One of the first things he thought of, as a proper reward for his bravery, was to take another wife. In this, his friends and partizans concurred, although he had no cause of dissatisfaction with his first wife, to whom he[Pg 120] had been married but a short time, and who had borne him a son. Time added confirmation to this plan. It was talked of, and even debated by the chiefs. It was conceded to be due to his bravery. All, indeed, appeared to approve of it, but his wife. She heard of the rumor with alarm, and received the account of its confirmation, with pain. It could no longer be doubted, for the individual who was to share, nay, control the lodge with her was named, and the consent of her parents had been obtained.

Monon, or the Little-Iron-Wood-Tree, as she was called, was a female of no ordinary firmness of character. She was ardently attached to her husband, not the less so for his rising fame, jealous of her rights, and prompted by strong feelings to maintain them. In all these points she was above the generality of her country women. Like others, however, in a community where poligamy was common, she might have submitted at length, to her fate, had not her rival in the affections of Takozid, appealed to a deeper seated principle, and waked up, in the breast of the injured wife, the feeling of revenge: a principle reckless enough, in communities where there are the safeguards of education and christianity to restrain and regulate it; but horrible in wild and roving bands of barbarians. Monon's fidelity was slandered. She was a pure and high minded woman, and the imputation goaded her to the quick.

When this slander first reached her ears, through the ordinary channel of village gossip, a chord was struck, which vibrated through every throe, and steeled her heart for some extraordinary act; although none could anticipate the sanguinary deed which marked the nuptial night. An Indian marriage is often a matter of little ceremony. It was not so, on this occasion. To render the events imposing, many had been invited. The bride was dressed in her best apparel. Her father was present. Many young and old, males and females were either present or thronged around the lodge. The broad clear blue waters of the lake, studded with green islands, spread before the door. A wide grassy lawn, which was the village ball and play ground, extended down to its margin. It was a public event. A throng had gathered around. Takozid was to be married. He was to take a second wife, in the daughter of Obegwud. Takozid himself was there. Hilarity reigned within and without. All indeed, were there, but the dejected and deserted Monon, who had been left with her child, at the chieftain's own lodge.

But a spirit had been aroused in her breast, which would not permit her to remain absent. She crossed the green silently, stealthily. She stood gazing awhile at the lake. She approached the bridal lodge. She passed easily among the group. She entered the lodge. Nor had any one, at that moment, a thought of suspicion or alarm. The bride was seated on her envied abbinos; her affianced husband was at her side.

All at once, there arose a shrill cry, in the Chippewa tongue. "This," vociferated the enraged Monon, "This for the bastard!" and at each repeti[Pg 121]tion of the words, she raised an Indian poignard, in her hand. The suddenness of her movement had paralyzed every attempt to arrest her. Amazement sat in every face. She had plunged a pointed knife into the breast of her rival.

There is little to be added to such a catastrophe. Its very suddenness and atrocity appalled every one. Nobody arrested her, and nobody pursued her. She returned as she came, and re-entered her lodge. Her victim never spoke.

From this moment the fame of Takozid declined. The event appeared to have unmanned him. He went no more to war. His martial spirits appeared to have left him. He sank back into the mass of Indian society, and was scarcely ever mentioned. Nor should we, indeed, have recalled his name from its obscurity, were it not associated in the Indian reminiscences of Leech lake, with this sanguinary deed.

I had this relation a few years ago, from a trader, who had lived at Leech lake, who personally knew the parties, and whose veracity I had no reason at all, to call into question. It is one of the elements that go into the sum of my personal observations, on savage life, and as such I cast it among these papers. To judge of the Red race aright, we must view it, in all its phases, and if we would perform our duty towards them, as christians and men, we should gather our data from small, as well as great events, and from afar as well as near. When all has been done, in the way of such collections and researches, it will be found, we think, that their errors and crimes, whatever they are, assume no deeper dye than philanthropy has had reason to apprehend them to take, without a knowledge of the principles of the gospel. Thou shalt not kill, is a law, yet to be enforced, among more than two hundred thousand souls, who bear the impress of a red skin, within the acknowledged limits of the American Union.




"The Pagan world not only believes in a myriad of gods, but worships them also. It is the peculiarity of the North American Indian, that while he believes in as many, he worships but one, the Great Spirit."—(Schoolcraft.)

Chemanitou, being the master of life, at one time became the origin of a spirit, that has ever since caused himself and all others of his creation[Pg 122] a great deal of disquiet. His birth was owing to an accident. It was in this wise.

Metówac, or as the white people now call it, Long Island, was originally a vast plain, so level and free from any kind of growth, that it looked like a portion of the great sea that had suddenly been made to move back and let the sand below appear, which was the case in fact.

Here it was that Chemanitou used to come and sit, when he wished to bring any new creation to the life. The place being spacious and solitary, the water upon every side, he had not only room enough, but was free from interruption.

It is well known that some of these early creations were of very great size, so that very few could live in the same place, and their strength made it difficult for Chemanitou, even to controul them; for when he has given them certain elements, they have the use of the laws that govern these elements, till it is his will to take them back to himself. Accordingly, it was the custom of Chemanitou, when he wished to try the effect of these creatures, to set them in motion upon the island of Metówac, and if they did not please him, he took the life out before they were suffered to escape. He would set up a mammoth or other large animal, in the centre of the island, and build him up with great care, somewhat in the manner that a cabin or a canoe is made.

Even to this day may be found traces of what had been done here in former years; and the manner in which the earth sometimes sinks down [even wells fall out at the bottom here,] shows that this island is nothing more than a great cake of earth, a sort of platter laid upon the sea, for the convenience of Chemanitou, who used it as a table upon which he might work, never having designed it for anything else; the margin of the Chatiemac, (the stately swan,) or Hudson river, being better adapted to the purposes of habitation.

When the master of life wished to build up an elephant or mammoth he placed four cakes of clay upon the ground, at proper distances, which were moulded into shape, and became the feet of the animal.

Now sometimes these were left unfinished; and to this day the green tussocks, to be seen like little islands about the marshes, show where these cakes of clay had been placed.

As Chemanitou went on with his work, the Neebanawbaigs (or water spirits,) the Puck-wud-jinnies, (Fairies[9]) and indeed all the lesser manittoes, used to come and look on, and wonder what it would be, and how it would act.

[9] Literally, little men, who vanish.

When the animal was quite done, and had dried a long time in the sun, Chemanitou opened a place in the side, and entering in, remained there many days.

[Pg 123]When he came forth, the creature began to shiver and sway from side to side, in such a manner as shook the whole island for many leagues. If his appearance pleased the master of life he was suffered to depart, and it was generally found that these animals plunged into the sea upon the north side of the island, and disappeared in the great forests beyond.

Now at one time Chemanitou was a very long while building an animal, of such great bulk, that it looked like a mountain upon the centre of the island; and all the manittoes, from all parts, came to see what it was. The Puck-wud-jinnies especially made themselves very merry, capering behind his great ears, sitting within his mouth, each perched upon a tooth, and running in and out of the sockets of the eyes, thinking Chemanitou, who was finishing off other parts of the animal, could not see them.

But he can see right through every thing he has made. He was glad to see them so lively, and bethought himself of many new creations while he watched their motions.

When the Master of Life had completed this large animal, he was fearful to give it life, and so it was left upon the island, or work-table of Chemanitou, till its great weight caused it to break through, and sinking partly down it stuck fast, the head and tail holding it in such a manner as to prevent it from going down.

Chemanitou then lifted up a piece of the back, and found it made a very good cavity, into which the old creations, which failed to please him, might be thrown.

He sometimes amused himself by making creatures very small and active, with which he disported awhile, and finding them of very little use in the world, and not so attractive as the little Vanishers, he would take out the life, holding it in himself, and then cast them into the cave made by the body of the unfinished animal. In this way great quantities of very odd shapes were heaped together in this Roncomcomon, or "Place of Fragments."

He was always careful to first take out the life.

One day the Master of Life took two pieces of clay and moulded them into two large feet, like those of a panther. He did not make four—there were two only.

He stepped his own feet into them, and found the tread very light and springy, so that he might go with great speed, and yet make no noise.

Next he built up a pair of very tall legs, in the shape of his own, and made them walk about awhile—he was pleased with the motion. Then followed a round body, covered with large scales, like the alligator.

He now found the figure doubling forward, and he fastened a long black snake, that was gliding by, to the back part of the body, and let it wind itself about a sapling near, which held the body upright, and made a very good tail.

[Pg 124]The shoulders were broad and strong, like those of the buffaloe, and covered with hair—the neck thick and short, and full at the back.

Thus far Chemanitou had worked with little thought, but when he came to the head he thought a long while.

He took a round ball of clay into his lap, and worked it over with great care. While he thought, he patted the ball upon the top, which made it very broad and low; for Chemanitou was thinking of the panther feet, and the buffaloe neck. He remembered the Puck-wud-jinnies playing in the eye sockets of the great unfinished animal, and he bethought him to set the eyes out, like those of a lobster, so that the animal might see upon every side.

He made the forehead broad and full, but low; for here was to be the wisdom of the forked tongue, like that of the serpent, which should be in his mouth. He should see all things, and know all things. Here Chemanitou stopped, for he saw that he had never thought of such a creation before, one with but two feet, a creature who should stand upright, and see upon every side.

The jaws were very strong, with ivory teeth, and gills upon either side, which arose and fell whenever breath passed through them. The nose was like the beak of the vulture. A tuft of porcupine quills made the scalp-lock.

Chemanitou held the head out the length of his arm, and turned it first upon one side and then upon the other. He passed it rapidly through the air, and saw the gills rise and fall, the lobster eyes whirl round, and the vulture nose look keen.

Chemanitou became very sad; yet he put the head upon the shoulders. It was the first time he had made an upright figure.

It seemed to be the first idea of a man.

It was now nearly night; the bats were flying through the air, and the roar of wild beasts began to be heard. A gusty wind swept in from the ocean, and passed over the island of Metówac, casting the light sand to and fro. A heavy scud was skimming along the horizon, while higher up in the sky was a dark thick cloud, upon the verge of which the moon hung for a moment, and then was shut in.

A panther came by and stayed a moment, with one foot raised and bent inward, while he looked up at the image, and smelt the feet, that were like his own.

A vulture swooped down with a great noise of its wings, and made a dash at the beak, but Chemanitou held him back.

Then came the porcupine, and the lizard, and the snake, each drawn by its kind in the image.

Chemanitou veiled his face for many hours, and the gusty wind swept by, but he did not stir.

He saw that every beast of the earth seeketh its kind; and that which is like draweth its likeness unto himself.

[Pg 125]The Master of Life thought and thought. The idea grew into his mind that at some time he would create a creature who should be made not after the things of the earth, but after himself.

He should link this world to the spirit world,—being made in the likeness of the Great Spirit, he should be drawn unto his likeness.

Many days and nights, whole seasons, passed while Chemanitou thought upon these things. He saw all things.

Then the Master of Life lifted up his head; the stars were looking down upon the image, and a bat had alighted upon the forehead, spreading its great wings upon each side. Chemanitou took the bat and held out its whole leathery wings, (and ever since the bat, when he rests, lets his body hang down,) so that he could try them over the head of the image. He then took the life of the bat away, and twisted off the body, by which means the whole thin part fell down over the head, and upon each side, making the ears, and a covering for the forehead like that of the hooded serpent.

Chemanitou did not cut off the face of the image below, he went on and made a chin, and lips that were firm and round, that they might shut in the forked tongue, and the ivory teeth; and he knew that with the lips and the chin it would smile, when life should be given to it.

The image was now all done but the arms, and Chemanitou saw that with a chin it must have hands. He grew more grave.

He had never given hands to any creature.

He made the arms and the hands very beautiful, after the manner of his own.

Chemanitou now took no pleasure in his work that was done—it was not good in his sight.

He wished he had not given it hands; might it not, when trusted with life, might it not begin to create? might it not thwart the plans of the master of life himself!

He looked long at the image. He saw what it would do when life should be given it. He knew all things.

He now put fire in the image: but fire is not life.

He put fire within, and a red glow passed through and through it. The fire dried the clay of which it was made, and gave the image an exceedingly fierce aspect. It shone through the scales upon the breast, and the gills, and the bat-winged ears. The lobster eyes were like a living coal.

Chemanitou opened the side of the image, but he did not enter. He had given it hands and a chin.

It could smile like the manittoes themselves.

He made it walk all about the island of Metówac, that he might see how it would act. This he did by means of his will.

He now put a little life into it, but he did not take out the fire. Chemanitou saw the aspect of the creature would be very terrible, and yet that[Pg 126] he could smile in such a manner that he ceased to be ugly. He thought much upon these things. He felt it would not be best to let such a creature live; a creature made up mostly from the beasts of the field, but with hands of power, a chin lifting the head upward, and lips holding all things within themselves.

While he thought upon these things, he took the image in his hands and cast it into the cave.

But Chemanitou forgot to take out the life!

The creature lay a long time in the cave and did not stir, for his fall was very great. He lay amongst the old creations that had been thrown in there without life.

Now when a long time had passed Chemanitou heard a great noise in the cave. He looked in and saw the image sitting there, and he was trying to put together the old broken things that had been cast in as of no value.

Chemanitou gathered together a vast heap of stones and sand, for large rocks are not to be had upon the island, and stopped the mouth of the cave. Many days passed and the noise grew louder within the cave. The earth shook, and hot smoke came from the ground. The Manittoes crowded to Metówac to see what was the matter.

Chemanitou came also, for he remembered the image he had cast in there, and forgotten to take away the life.

Suddenly there was a great rising of the stones and sand—the sky grew black with wind and dust. Fire played about the ground, and water gushed high into the air.

All the Manittoes fled with fear; and the image came forth with a great noise and most terrible to behold. His life had grown strong within him, for the fire had made it very fierce.

Everything fled before him and cried—Machinito—Machinito—which means a god, but an evil god!

The above legend is gathered from the traditions of Iagou, the great Indian narrator, who seems to have dipped deeper into philosophy than most of his compeers. The aboriginal language abounds with stories related by this remarkable personage, which we hope to bring before the public at some future time. Whether subsequent events justify the Indian in making Long Island the arena of the production of Machinito or the Evil Spirit, will seem more than apocryphal to a white resident. However we have nothing to do except to relate the fact as it was related.

As to these primitive metaphysics, they are at least curious; and the coolness with which the fact is assumed that the origin of evil was accidental in the process of developing a perfect humanity, would, at an earlier day, have been quite appalling to the schoolmen.


[Pg 127]


When an Indian corpse is put in a coffin, among the tribes of the Lake Algonquins, the lid is tied down, and not nailed. On depositing it in the grave, the rope or string is loosed, and the weight of the earth alone relied on, to keep it in a fixed position. The reason they give for this, is, that the soul may have free egress from the body.

Over the top of the grave a covering of cedar bark is put, to shed the rain. This is roof-shaped and the whole structure looks, slightly, like a house in miniature. It has gable ends. Through one of these, being the head, an aperture is cut. On asking a Chippewa why this was done, he replied,—"To allow the soul to pass out, and in."

"I thought," I replied, "that you believed that the soul went up from the body at the time of death, to a land of happiness. How, then, can it remain in the body?"

"There are two souls," replied the Indian philosopher.

"How can this be? my friend."

"It is easily explained," said he.

"You know that, in dreams, we pass over wide countries, and see hills and lakes and mountains, and many scenes, which pass before our eyes, and affect us. Yet, at the same time, our bodies do not stir, and there is a soul left with the body,—else it would be dead. So, you perceive, it must be another soul that accompanies us."

This conversation took place, in the Indian country. I knew the Indian very well, and had noticed the practice, not general now, on the frontiers, of tying the coffin-lid, in burials. It is at the orifice in the bark sheeting mentioned, that the portion of food, consecrated in feasts for the dead, is set. It could not but happen, that the food should be eaten by the hystrix, wolf, or some other animal, known to prowl at night; nor that, Indian superstition, ever ready to turn slight appearances of this kind to account, should attribute its abstraction to the spirit of the deceased.




There was once a little boy, remarkable for the smallness of his stature. He was living alone with his sister older than himself. They were orphans, they lived in a beautiful spot on the Lake shore; many large rocks were[Pg 128] scattered around their habitation. The boy never grew larger as he advanced in years. One day, in winter, he asked his sister to make him a ball to play with along shore on the clear ice. She made one for him, but cautioned him not to go too far.—Off he went in high glee, throwing his ball before him, and running after it at full speed; and he went as fast as his ball. At last his ball flew to a great distance: he followed it as fast as he could. After he had run for some time, he saw four dark substances on the ice straight before him. When he came up to the spot he was surprised to see four large, tall men lying on the ice, spearing fish. When he went up to them, the nearest looked up and in turn was surprised to see such a diminutive being, and turning to his brothers, he said, "Tia! look! see what a little fellow is here." After they had all looked a moment, they resumed their position, covered their heads, intent in searching for fish. The boy thought to himself, they imagine me too insignificant for common courtesy, because they are tall and large; I shall teach them notwithstanding, that I am not to be treated so lightly. After they were covered up the boy saw they had each a large trout lying beside them. He slyly took the one nearest him, and placing his fingers in the gills, and tossing his ball before him, ran off at full speed. When the man to whom the fish belonged looked up, he saw his trout sliding away as if of itself, at a great rate—the boy being so small he was not distinguished from the fish. He addressed his brothers and said, "See how that tiny boy has stolen my fish; what a shame it is he should do so." The boy reached home, and told his sister to go out and get the fish he had brought home. She exclaimed, "where could you have got it? I hope you have not stolen it." "O no," he replied, "I found it on the ice." "How" persisted the sister, "could you have got it there?"—"No matter," said the boy, "go and cook it." He disdained to answer her again, but thought he would one day show her how to appreciate him. She went to the place he left it, and there indeed she found a monstrous trout. She did as she was bid, and cooked it for that day's consumption. Next morning he went off again as at first. When he came near the large men, who fished every day, he threw his ball with such force that it rolled into the ice-hole of the man of whom he had stolen the day before. As he happened to raise himself at the time, the boy said, "Neejee, pray hand me my ball." "No indeed," answered the man, "I shall not," and thrust the ball under the ice. The boy took hold of his arm and broke it in two in a moment, and threw him to one side, and picked up his ball, which had bounded back from under the ice, and tossed it as usual before him. Outstripping it in speed, he got home and remained within till the next morning. The man whose arm he had broken hallooed out to his brothers, and told them his case, and deplored his fate. They hurried to their brother, and as loud as they could roar threatened vengeance on the morrow, knowing[Pg 129] the boy's speed that they could not overtake him, and he was near out of sight; yet he heard their threats and awaited their coming in perfect indifference. The four brothers the next morning prepared to take their revenge. Their old mother begged them not to go—"Better" said she "that one only should suffer, than that all should perish; for he must be a monedo, or he could not perform such feats." But her sons would not listen; and taking their wounded brother along, started for the boy's lodge, having learnt that he lived at the place of rocks. The boy's sister thought she heard the noise of snow-shoes on the crusted snow at a distance advancing. She saw the large, tall men coming straight to their lodge, or rather cave, for they lived in a large rock. She ran in with great fear, and told her brother the fact. He said, "Why do you mind them? give me something to eat." "How can you think of eating at such a time," she replied,—"Do as I request you, and be quick." She then gave him his dish, which was a large mis-qua-dace shell, and he commenced eating. Just then the men came to the door, and were about lifting the curtain placed there, when the boy-man turned his dish upside-down, and immediately the door was closed with a stone; the men tried hard with their clubs to crack it; at length they succeeded in making a slight opening. When one of them peeped in with one eye, the boy-man shot his arrow into his eye and brain, and he dropped down dead. The others, not knowing what had happened to their brother, did the same, and all fell in like manner; their curiosity was so great to see what the boy was about. So they all shared the same fate. After they were killed the boy-man told his sister to go out and see them. She opened the door, but feared they were not dead, and entered back again hastily, and told her fears to her brother. He went out and hacked them in small pieces, saying, "henceforth let no man be larger than you are now." So men became of the present size. When spring came on, the boy-man said to his sister, "Make me a new set of arrows and bow." She obeyed, as he never did any thing himself of a nature that required manual labour, though he provided for their sustenance. After she made them, she again cautioned him not to shoot into the lake; but regardless of all admonition, he, on purpose, shot his arrow into the lake, and waded some distance till he got into deep water, and paddled about for his arrow, so as to attract the attention of his sister. She came in haste to the shore, calling him to return, but instead of minding her he called out, "Ma-mis-quon-je-gun-a, be-nau-wa-con-zhe-shin," that is, "you, of the red fins come and swallow me." Immediately that monstrous fish came and swallowed him; and seeing his sister standing on the shore in despair, he hallooed out to her, "Me-zush-ke-zin-ance." She wondered what he meant. But on reflection she thought it must be an old mockesin. She accordingly tied the old mockesin to a string, and fastened it to a tree. The fish said to the boy-man, under water, "What is that floating?" the boy-man said to the fish, "Go, take hold of it, swallow it as fast as you[Pg 130] can." The fish darted towards the old shoe, and swallowed it. The boy-man laughed in himself, but said nothing, till the fish was fairly caught; he then took hold of the line and began to pull himself and fish to shore. The sister, who was watching, was surprised to see so large a fish; and hauling it ashore she took her knife and commenced cutting it open. When she heard her brother's voice inside of the fish, saying, "Make haste and release me from this nasty place," his sister was in such haste that she almost hit his head with her knife; but succeeded in making an opening large enough for her brother to get out. When he was fairly out, he told his sister to cut up the fish and dry it, as it would last a long time for their sustenance, and said to her, never, never more to doubt his ability in any way. So ends the story.




In the days of this story, wars, murders, and cruelty existed in the country now comprising the province of Upper Canada, or that portion bordering upon Lakes Simcoe, Erie, and Ontario, which was claimed and belonged to the powerful tribe of the eight nations of the Nawtoways. The young men had, on a day, started for a hunting excursion: in the evening five only of the brothers returned, one was missing. Upon search being made the body was found, and it appeared evident that he had been killed: this gave a great blow to the family, but particularly causing great affliction to the sister, who was the youngest of the family. She mourned and lamented her brother's death, and she wept incessantly.

The ensuing year another was killed, and so on till four were killed. The remaining two brothers did all they could to afford consolation to their pining sister, but she would not be consoled: they did all they could to divert her mind from so much mourning, but all their endeavours proved ineffectual: she scarcely took any food, and what she ate was hardly sufficient to sustain nature. The two brothers said that they would go hunting, which they did from day to day. They would bring[Pg 131] ducks and birds of every description to their sister, in order to tempt her appetite, but she persisted in refusing nourishment, or taking very little. At the expiration of the year when the fourth brother had been killed, the two young men set out upon the chase; one of them returned in the evening, the other was missing, and found killed in like manner as the others had been. This again augmented the afflictions of the young girl; she had been very delicate, but was now reduced to a mere skeleton. At the expiration of the year the only and last of her brothers, taking pity upon his pining sister, said to her that he would go and kill her some fresh venison, to entice her to eat. He started early in the morning, and his sister would go out from time to time, in the course of the day, to see if her brother was returning. Night set in, and no indications of his coming—she sat up all night, exhibiting fear and apprehension bordering upon despair—day light appeared, and he did not come—search was made, and he was finally found killed, like all the other brothers. After this event the girl became perfectly disconsolate, hardly tasting food, and would wander in the woods the whole day, returning at nights. One of her aunts had the care of her at this time. One day in one of her rambles she did not return; her aunt became very anxious, and searched for her, and continued her search daily. On the tenth day, the aunt in her search lost her way and was bewildered, and finally was benighted. While lying down, worn with fatigue, she thought she heard the voice of some one speaking: she got up, and directing her course to the spot, she came upon a small lodge made of bushes, and in it lay her niece, with her face to the ground. She prevailed upon her to return home. Before reaching their lodge the girl stopt, and her aunt built her a small lodge, and she resided in it. Here her aunt would attend upon her daily.

One day as she lay alone in her little lodge, a person appeared to her from on high: he had on white raiment that was extremely pure, clean and white: he did not touch the earth, but remained at some distance from it. He spoke to her in a mild tone and said, Daughter, why do you remain here mourning? I have come to console you, and you must arise, and I will give you all the land, and deliver into your hands the persons who have killed your brothers. All things living and created are mine, I give and take away. Now therefore arise, slay and eat of my dog that lays there. You will go to your village and firstly tell your relatives and nation of this vision, and you must act conformably to my word and to the mind I'll give you, and your enemies will I put into your hands. I will be with you again.

After this, he ascended on high. When the girl looked to the place where the heavenly being pointed, she saw a bear. She arose and went home, and mentioned to her relatives the vision she had seen, and made a request that the people might be assembled to partake of her feast. She directed her relations to the spot where the bear was to be found; it was[Pg 132] killed and brought to the village, and singed upon a fire, and the feast was made, and the nature of the vision explained. Preparations were immediately set on foot, messengers were sent to each tribe of the six nations, and an invitation given to them, to come upon a given day to the village of Toronto. Messengers were also sent all along the north coast of lake Huron to Bawiting, inviting the Indians to form an alliance and fight against the enemies of the young girl who had lost so many brothers.

In the midst of the Nadowas, there lived two chieftains, twin brothers. They were Nadowas also of the Bear tribe, perfect devils in disposition, cruel and tyrannical. They were at the head of two nations of the Nadowas, reigning together, keeping the other nations in great fear and awe, and enslaving them; particularly the Indians of the Deer totem, who resided in one portion of their great village. Indians in connection with the Chippewas were also kept in bondage by the two tyrants, whose names were Aingodon and Naywadaha. When the Chippewas received the young girl's messengers, they were told that they must rescue their relatives, and secretly apprize them of their intention, and the great calamity that would befall Aingodon and Naywadaha's villages and towns. Many therefore made their escape; but one remained with his family, sending an excuse for not obeying the summons, as he had a great quantity of corn laid up, and that he must attend to his crops. The Indians all along the north shore of lake Huron and of Bawiting, embarked to join the general and common cause; they passed through the lakes, and reached Toronto late in the fall. In the beginning of the winter the assembled allies marched, headed by the young girl. She passed through lake Simcoe, and the line covered the whole lake, cracking the ice as they marched over it. They encamped at the head of the lake. Here the young girl produced a garnished bag, and she hung it up, and told the assembled multitude that she would make chingodam; and after this she sent hunters out directing them to bring in eighteen bears, and before the sun had risen high the bears were all brought in, and they were singed, and the feast of sacrifice offered. At this place the person from on high appeared to the girl in presence of the assembled multitude, and he stretched forth his hand and shook hands with her only. He here directed her to send secret messengers into the land, to warn the Indians who had the deer totem to put out their totems on poles before their lodge door, in order that they might be known and saved from the approaching destruction; and they were enjoined not to go out of their lodges, neither man, woman, or child; if they did so they would be surely consumed and destroyed; and the person on high said—Do not approach nigh the open plain until the rising sun, you will then see destruction come upon your enemies, and they will be delivered into your hands.

The messengers were sent to the Deer Totems, and they entered the town at night, and communicated their message to them. After this all[Pg 133] the Indians bearing that mark were informed of the approaching calamity, and they instantly made preparations, setting out poles before their lodge doors, and attaching deer skins to the poles, as marks to escape the vengeance that was to come upon Aingodon and Nawadaha, and their tribes. The next morning at daylight the Aingodons and Nawadahas rose, and seeing the poles and deer skins planted before the doors of the lodges, said in derision, that their friends, the Deer Totems, had, or must have had, bad dreams, thus to set their totems on poles. The Indians of the deer totems remained quiet and silent, and they did not venture out of their lodges. The young girl was nigh the skirts of the wood with her host, bordering upon the plain; and just as the sun rose she marched, and as she and her allied forces neared the village of the twin tyrants, it became a flame of fire, destroying all its inhabitants. The Deer Totems escaped. Aingodon and Nawadaha were not consumed. The allied Indians drew their bows and shot their arrows at them, but they bounded off, and the blows inflicted upon them were of no avail, until the young girl came up and subdued them, and took them alive, and made them prisoners.

The whole of Aingodon's and Nawadaha's towns and villages were destroyed in the same way; and the land was in possession of the young girl and the six remaining tribes of the Nadowas. After this signal vengeance was taken the young girl returned with her host, and again encamped at the head of lake Simcoe, at her former encamping place; and the two tyrants were asked, what was their object for making chingodam, and what weight could it have? They said, in answer, that their implements for war, were war axes, and if permitted they would make chingodam, and on doing so they killed each two men. They were bound immediately, and their flesh was cut off from their bodies in slices. One of them was dissected, and upon examination it was discovered that he had no liver, and his heart was small, and composed of hard flint stone. There are marks upon a perpendicular ledge of rocks at the narrows, or head of lake Simcoe, visible to this day, representing two bound persons, who are recognized by the Indians of this generation as the two tyrants, or twin brothers, Aingodon and Nawadaha. One of the tyrants was kept bound, until the time the French discovered and possessed the Canadas, and he was taken to Quebec. After this the young girl was taken away by the god of light.


Sault Ste. Marie, May 12th, 1838.

The Indian warriors of the plains west of the sources of the Mississippi, chew a bitter root, before going into battle, which they suppose imparts courage, and renders them insensible to pain. It is called zhigowak.

[Pg 134]





This individual has indelibly interwoven his name with the history of the Chippewa nation, during the latter half of the 18th century. His ancestors had, from the earliest times, held the principal chieftainship in lake Superior. His father, Ma-mongazida, was the ruling chief during the war of the conquest of the Canadas by the British crown. In common with his tribe and the northern nations generally, he was the fast friend of the French government, and was present with his warriors, under Gen. Montcalm, at the loss of Quebec, in 1759. He carried a short speech from that celebrated officer to his people in the north, which is said to have been verbally delivered a short time before he went to the field.

The period of the fall of the French power in the Canadas, is one of the most marked events in Indian reminiscence throughout all northwest America. They refer to the days of French supremacy as a kind of golden era, when all things in their affairs were better than they now are; and I have heard them lament over the change as one which was in every respect detrimental to their power and happiness. No European nation, it is evident from these allusions, ever pleased them as well. The French character and manners adapted themselves admirably to the existing customs of forest life. The common people, who went up into the interior to trade, fell in with their customs with a degree of plasticity and an air of gaiety and full assent, which no other foreigners have, at least to the same extent, shown. These Couriers du Bois had not much to boast of on the score of rigid morals themselves. They had nearly as much superstition as the wildest Indians. They were in fact, at least nine-tenths of them, quite as illiterate. Very many of them were far inferior in their mental structure and capacity to the bold, eloquent, and well formed and athletic northern chiefs and hunters. They respected their religious and festive ceremonies. They never, as a chief once told me, laughed at them. They met their old friends on their annual returns from Montreal, with a kiss. They took the daughters of the red men for wives, and reared large families, who thus constituted a strong bond of union between the two races, which remains unbroken at this day.

[Pg 135]This is the true secret of the strenuous efforts made by the northern and western Indians to sustain the French power, when it was menaced in the war of 1744, by the fleets and armies of Great Britain. They rallied freely to their aid at Detroit, Vincennes, the present sites of Pittsburg and Erie, at Fort Niagara, Montreal, and Quebec, and they hovered with infuriated zeal around the outskirts of the northern and western settlements, during the many and sanguinary wars carried on between the English and French. And when the French were beaten they still adhered to their cause, and their chiefs stimulated the French local commanders to continue and renew the contest, even after the fall of Niagara and Quebec, with a heroic consistency of purpose, which reflects credit upon their foresight, bravery, and constancy. We hope in a future number to bring forward a sketch of the man who put himself at the head of this latter effort, who declared he would drive the Saxon race into the sea, who beseiged twelve and took nine of the western stockaded forts, and who for four years and upwards, maintained the war, after the French had struck their colours and ceded the country. We refer to the great Algic leader, Pontiac.

At present our attention is called to a cotemporary chief, of equal personal bravery and conduct, certainly, but who lived and exercised his authority at a more remote point, and had not the same masses and means at his command. This point, so long hid in the great forests of the north, and which, indeed, has been but lately revealed in our positive geography, is the area of Lake Superior. It is here that we find the Indian tradition to be rife with the name of Wabojeeg and his wars, and his cotemporaries. It was one of the direct consequences of so remote a position, that it withdrew his attention more from the actual conflicts between the French and English, and fixed them upon his western and southern frontiers, which were menaced and invaded by the numerous bands of the Dacotahs, and by the perfidious kinsmen of his nation, the Outagamies and Saucs. He came into active life, too, as a prominent war leader, at the precise era when the Canadas had fallen into the British power, and by engaging zealously in the defence of the borders of his nation west, he allowed time to mitigate and adjust those feelings and attachments which, so far as public policy was concerned, must be considered to have moulded the Indian mind to a compliance with, and a submission to, the British authority. Wabojeeg was, emphatically, the defender of the Chippewa domain against the efforts of other branches of the Red Race. He did not, therefore, lead his people to fight, as his father, Ma-mongazida, and nearly all the great Indian war captains had, to enable one type of the foreign race to triumph over another, but raised his parties and led them forth to maintain his tribal supremacy. He may be contemplated, therefore, as having had a more patriotic object for his achievement.

Lake Superior, at the time of our earliest acquaintance with the region, was occupied, as it is at this day, by the Chippewa race. The chief seat[Pg 136] of their power appeared to be near the southwestern extremity of the lake, at Chagoimegon, where fathers Marquette and Alloez found their way, and established a mission, so early as 1668. Another of their principal, and probably more ancient seats, was at the great rapids on the outlet of that lake, which they named the Sault de Ste. Marie. It was in allusion to their residence here that they called this tribe Saulteur, that is to say people of the leap or rapid.

Indian tradition makes the Chippewas one of the chief, certainly by far the most numerous and widely spread, of the Algonquin stock proper. It represents them to have migrated from the east to the west. On reaching the vicinity of Michilimackinac, they separated at a comparatively moderate era into three tribes, calling themselves, respectively, Odjibwas, Odawas, and Podawadumees. What their name was before this era, is not known. It is manifest that the term Odjibwa is not a very ancient one, for it does not occur in the earliest authors. They were probably of the Nipercinean or true Algonquin stock, and had taken the route of the Utawas river, from the St. Lawrence valley into lake Huron. The term itself is clearly from Bwa, a voice; and its prefix in Odji, was probably designed to mark a peculiar intonation which the muscles are, as it were, gathered up, to denote.

Whatever be the facts of their origin, they had taken the route up the straits of St. Mary into lake Superior, both sides of which, and far beyond, they occupied at the era of the French discovery. It is evident that their course in this direction must have been aggressive. They were advancing towards the west and northwest. The tribe known as Kenistenos, had passed through the Lake of the Woods, through the great lake Nipesing, and as far as the heads of the Saskatchewine and the portage of the Missinipi of Hudson's bay. The warlike band of Leech Lake, called Mukundwas, had spread themselves over the entire sources of the Mississippi and extended their hunting excursions west to Red River, where they came into contact with the Assinaboines, or Stone Sioux. The central power, at this era, still remained at Chagoimegon, on Superior, where indeed, the force of early tradition asserts there was maintained something like a frame of both civil and ecclesiastical polity and government.

It is said in the traditions related to me by the Chippewas, that the Outagamies, or Foxes, had preceded them into that particular section of country which extends in a general course from the head of Fox River, of Green Bay, towards the Falls of St. Anthony, reaching in some points well nigh to the borders of lake Superior. They are remembered to have occupied the interior wild rice lakes, which lie at the sources of the Wisconsin, the Ontonagon, the Chippewa, and the St. Croix rivers. They were associated with the Saucs, who had ascended the Mississippi some distance above the Falls of St. Anthony, where they lived on friendly terms with the Dacotahs or Sioux. This friendship extended also to the Outagamies, and it was[Pg 137] the means of preserving a good understanding between the Dacotahs and Chippewas.

The Fox tribe is closely affiliated with the Chippewas. They call each other brothers. They are of the same general origin and speak the same general language, the chief difference in sound being that the Foxes use the letter l, where the Odjibwas employ an n. The particular cause of their disagreement is not known. They are said by the Chippewas to have been unfaithful and treacherous. Individual quarrels and trespasses on their hunting grounds led to murders, and in the end to a war, in which the Menomonees and the French united, and they were thus driven from the rice lakes and away from the Fox and upper Wisconsin. To maintain their position they formed an alliance with the Sioux, and fought by their side.

It was in this contest that Wabojeeg first distinguished himself, and vindicated by his bravery and address the former reputation of his family, and laid anew the foundations of his northern chieftaindom. Having heard allusions made to this person on my first entrance into that region, many years ago, I made particular enquiries, and found living a sister, an old white-headed woman, and a son and daughter, about the age of middle life. From these sources I gleaned the following facts. He was born, as nearly as I could compute the time, about 1747. By a singular and romantic incident his father, Ma-mongazida, was a half-brother of the father of Wabashaw, a celebrated Sioux chief, who but a few years ago died at his village on the upper Mississippi. The connexion happened in this way.

While the Sioux and Chippewas were living in amity near each other, and frequently met and feasted each other on their hunting grounds and at their villages, a Sioux chief, of distinction, admired and married a Chippewa girl, by whom he had two sons. When the war between these two nations broke out, those persons of the hostile tribes who had married Chippewa wives, and were living in the Chippewa country, withdrew, some taking their wives along and others separating from them. Among the latter was the Sioux chief. He remained a short time after hostilities commenced, but finding his position demanded it, he was compelled, with great reluctance, to leave his wife behind, as she could not, with safety, have accompanied him into the Sioux territories. As the blood of the Sioux flowed in the veins of her two sons, neither was it safe for her to leave them among the Chippewas. They were, however, by mutual agreement, allowed to return with the father. The eldest of these sons became the father of Wabashaw.

The mother thus divorced by the mutual consent of all parties, remained inconsolable for some time. She was still young and handsome, and after a few years, became the wife of a young Chippewa chief of Chagoimegon, of the honoured totem of the Addick or reindeer. Her[Pg 138] first child by this second marriage, was Ma Mongazida, the father of Wabojeeg. In this manner, a connexion existed between two families, of separate hostile nations, each of which distinguished itself, for bravery and skill in war and council. It has already been stated that Ma Mongazida, was present, on the side of the French, in the great action in which both Montcalm and Wolf fell, and he continued to exercise the chieftainship till his death, when his second son succeeded him.

It was one of the consequences of the hostility of the Indians to the English rule, that many of the remote tribes were left, for a time, without traders to supply their wants. This was the case, tradition asserts, with Chagoimegon, which, for two years after the taking of old Mackinac, was left without a trader. To remonstrate against this, Ma Mongazida visited Sir William Johnson, the superintendant general of Indian affairs, by whom he was well received, and presented with a broad wampum belt and gorget. This act laid the foundation of a lasting peace between the Chippewas and the English. The belt, it is added, was of blue wampum, with figures of white. And when Wabojeeg came to the chieftainship, he took from it the wampum employed by him to muster his war parties.

In making traditionary enquiries I have found that the Indian narrators were careful to preserve and note any fact, in the early lives of their distinguished men, which appeared to prefigure their future eminence, or had any thing of the wonderful or premonitory, in its character. The following incident of this sort, was noticed respecting this chief. Ma Mongazida generally went to make his fall hunts on the middle grounds towards the Sioux territory, taking with him all his near relatives, amounting usually to twenty persons, exclusive of children. Early one morning while the young men were preparing for the chase, they were startled by the report of several shots, directed towards the lodge. As they had thought themselves in security, the first emotion was surprise, and they had scarcely time to fly to their arms, when another volley was fired, which wounded one man in the thigh, and killed a dog. Ma Mongazida immediately sallied out with his young men, and pronouncing his name aloud in the Sioux language, demanded if Wabasha or his brother, were among the assailants. The firing instantly ceased—a pause ensued, when a tall figure, in a war dress, with a profusion of feathers upon his head, stepped forward and presented his hand. It was the elder Wabasha, his half brother. The Sioux peaceably followed their leader into the lodge, upon which they had, the moment before, directed their shots. At the instant the Sioux chief entered, it was necessary to stoop a little, in passing the door. In the act of stooping, he received a blow from a war-club wielded by a small boy, who had posted himself there for the purpose. It was the young Wabojeeg. Wabasha, pleased with this early indication of courage, took the little lad in his arms, caressed him, and[Pg 139] pronounced that he would become a brave man, and prove an inveterate enemy of the Sioux.

The border warfare in which the father of the infant warrior was constantly engaged, early initiated him in the arts and ceremonies pertaining to war. With the eager interest and love of novelty of the young, he listened to their war songs and war stories, and longed for the time when he would be old enough to join these parties, and also make himself a name among warriors. While quite a youth he volunteered to go out with a party, and soon gave convincing proofs of his courage. He also early learned the arts of hunting the deer, the bear, the moose, and all the smaller animals common to the country; and in these pursuits, he took the ordinary lessons of Indian young men, in abstinence, suffering, danger and endurance of fatigue. In this manner his nerves were knit and formed for activity, and his mind stored with those lessons of caution which are the result of local experience in the forest. He possessed a tall and commanding person, with a full black piercing eye, and the usual features of his countrymen. He had a clear and full toned voice, and spoke his native language with grace and fluency. To these attractions, he united an early reputation for bravery and skill in the chase, and at the age of twenty-two, he was already a war leader.

Expeditions of one Indian tribe against another, require the utmost caution, skill, and secrecy. There are a hundred things to give information to such a party, or influence its action, which are unknown to civilized nations. The breaking of a twig, the slightest impression of a foot print, and other like circumstances, determine a halt, a retreat, or an advance. The most scrupulous attention is also paid to the signs of the heavens, the flight of birds, and above all, to the dreams and predictions of the jossakeed, priest, or prophet, who accompanies them, and who is entrusted with the sacred sack. The theory upon which all these parties are conducted, is secrecy and stratagem: to steal upon the enemy unawares; to lay in ambush, or decoy; to kill and to avoid as much as possible the hazard of being killed. An intimate geographical knowledge of the country, is also required by a successful war leader, and such a man piques himself, not only on knowing every prominent stream, hill, valley, wood, or rock, but the particular productions, animal, and vegetable, of the scene of operations. When it is considered that this species of knowledge, shrewdness and sagacity, is possessed on both sides, and that the nations at war watch each other, as a lynx for its prey, it may be conceived, that many of these border war parties are either light skirmishes, sudden on-rushes, or utter failures. It is seldom that a close, well contested, long continued hard battle is fought. To kill a few men, tear off their scalps in haste, and retreat with these trophies, is a brave and honourable trait with them, and may be boasted of, in their triumphal dances and warlike festivities.

To glean the details of these movements, would be to acquire the[Pg 140] modern history of the tribe; which induced me to direct my enquiries to the subject; but the lapse of even forty or fifty years, had shorn tradition of most of these details, and often left the memory of results only. The Chippewas told me, that this chief had led them seven times to successful battle against the Sioux and the Outagamies, and that he had been wounded thrice—once in the thigh, once in the right shoulder, and a third time in the side and breast, being a glancing shot. His war parties consisted either of volunteers who had joined his standard at the war dance, or of auxiliaries, who had accepted his messages of wampum and tobacco, and come forward in a body, to the appointed place of rendezvous. These parties varied greatly in number; his first party consisted of but forty men, his greatest and most renowned, of three hundred, who were mustered from the villages on the shores of the lake, as far east as St. Mary's falls.

It is to the incidents of this last expedition, which had an important influence on the progress of the war, that we may devote a few moments. The place of rendezvous was La Pointe Chagomiegon, or as it is called in modern days, La Pointe of Lake Superior. The scene of the conflict, which was a long and bloody one, was the falls of the St. Croix. The two places are distant about two hundred and fifty miles, by the most direct route. This area embraces the summit land between Lake Superior and the upper Mississippi. The streams flowing each way interlock, which enables the natives to ascend them in their light canoes, and after carrying the latter over the portages, to descend on the opposite side. On this occasion Wabojeeg and his partizan army, ascended the Muskigo, or Mauvais river, to its connecting portage with the Namakagon branch of the St. Croix. On crossing the summit, they embarked in their small and light war canoes on their descent westward. This portion of the route was passed with the utmost caution. They were now rapidly approaching the enemy's borders, and every sign was regarded with deep attention. They were seven days from the time they first reached the waters of the St. Croix, until they found the enemy. They went but a short distance each day, and encamped. On the evening of the seventh day, the scouts discovered a large body of Sioux and Outagamies encamped on the lower side of the portage of the great falls of the St. Croix. The discovery was a surprise on both sides. The advance of the Chippewas had landed at the upper end of the portage, intending to encamp there. The Sioux and their allies had just preceded them, from the lower part of the stream with the same object. The Foxes or Outagamies immediately fired, and a battle ensued. It is a spot indeed, from which a retreat either way is impracticable, in the face of an enemy. It is a mere neck of rugged rock. The river forces a passage through this dark and solid barrier. It is equally rapid and dangerous for canoes above and below. It cannot be crossed direct. After the firing began, Wabojeeg landed and brought up[Pg 141] his men. He directed a part of them to extend themselves in the wood around the small neck, or peninsula, of the portage, whence alone escape was possible. Both parties fought with bravery; the Foxes with desperation. But they were outnumbered, overpowered, and defeated. Some attempted to descend the rapids, and were lost. A few only escaped. But the Chippewas paid dearly for their victory. Wabojeeg was slightly wounded in the breast: his brother was killed. Many brave warriors fell. It was a most sanguinary scene. The tradition of this battle is one of the most prominent and wide spread of the events of their modern history. I have conversed with more than one chief, who dated his first military honours in youth, to this scene. It put an end to their feud with the Foxes, who retired from the intermediate rice lakes, and fled down the Wisconsin. It raised the name of the Chippewa leader, to the acme of his renown among his people: but Wabojeeg, as humane as he was brave, grieved over the loss of his people who had fallen in the action. This feeling was expressed touchingly and characteristically, in a war song, which he uttered after this victory which has been preserved by the late Mr. Johnston of St. Mary's, in the following stanzas.

On that day when our heroes lay low—lay low,
On that day when our heroes lay low,
I fought by their side, and thought ere I died,
Just vengeance to take on the foe,
Just vengeance to take on the foe.
On that day, when our chieftains lay dead—lay dead,
On that day when our chieftains lay dead,
I fought hand to hand, at the head of my band,
And here, on my breast, have I bled,
And here, on my breast, have I bled.
Our chiefs shall return no more—no more,
Our chiefs shall return no more,
Nor their brothers of war, who can show scar for scar,
Like women their fates shall deplore—deplore,
Like women their fate shall deplore.
Five winters in hunting we'll spend—we'll spend,
Five winters in hunting we'll spend,
Till our youth, grown to men, we'll to war lead again,
And our days, like our fathers, we'll end,
And our days, like our fathers, we'll end.

It is the custom of these tribes to go to war in the spring and summer, which are, not only comparatively seasons of leisure with them,[Pg 142] but it is at these seasons that they are concealed and protected by the foliage of the forest, and can approach the enemy unseen. At these annual returns of warmth and vegetation, they also engage in festivities and dances, during which the events and exploits of past years are sang and recited; and while they derive fresh courage and stimulus to renewed exertions, the young, who are listeners, learn to emulate their fathers, and take their earliest lessons in the art of war. Nothing is done in the summer months in the way of hunting. The small furred animals are changing their pelt, which is out of season. The doe retires with her fawns, from the plains and open grounds, into thick woods. It is the general season of reproduction, and the red man for a time, intermits his war on the animal creation, to resume it against man.

As the autumn approaches, he prepares for his fall hunts, by retiring from the outskirts of the settlements, and from the open lakes, shores, and streams, which have been the scenes of his summer festivities; and proceeds, after a short preparatory hunt, to his wintering grounds. This round of hunting, and of festivity and war, fills up the year; all the tribes conform in these general customs. There are no war parties raised in the winter. This season is exclusively devoted to securing the means of their subsistence and clothing, by seeking the valuable skins, which are to purchase their clothing and their ammunition, traps and arms.

The hunting grounds of the chief, whose life we are considering, extended along the southern shores of Lake Superior from the Montreal River, to the inlet of the Misacoda, or Burntwood River of Fond du Lac. If he ascended the one, he usually made the wide circuit indicated, and came out at the other. He often penetrated by a central route up the Maskigo. This is a region still abounding, but less so than formerly, in the bear, moose, beaver, otter, martin, and muskrat. Among the smaller animals are also to be noticed the mink, lynx, hare, porcupine, and partridge, and towards its southern and western limits, the Virginia deer. In this ample area, the La Pointe, or Chagoimegon Indians hunted. It is a rule of the chase, that each hunter has a portion of the country assigned to him, on which he alone may hunt; and there are conventional laws which decide all questions of right and priority in starting and killing game. In these questions, the chief exercises a proper authority, and it is thus in the power of one of these forest governors and magistrates, where they happen to be men of sound sense, judgment and manly independence, to make themselves felt and known, and to become true benefactors to their tribes. And such chiefs create an impression upon their followers, and leave a reputation behind them, which is of more value than their achievements in war.

Wabojeeg excelled in both characters; he was equally popular as a civil ruler and a war chief; and while he administered justice to his people, he was an expert hunter, and made due and ample provision for his[Pg 143] family. He usually gleaned, in a season, by his traps and carbine, four packs of mixed furs, the avails of which were ample to provide clothing for all the members of his lodge circle, as well as to renew his supply of ammunition and other essential articles.

On one occasion, he had a singular contest with a moose. He had gone out, one morning early, to set martin traps. He had set about forty, and was returning to his lodge, when he unexpectedly encountered a large moose, in his path, which manifested a disposition to attack him. Being unarmed, and having nothing but a knife and small hatchet, which he had carried to make his traps, he tried to avoid it. But the animal came towards him in a furious manner. He took shelter behind a tree, shifting his position from tree to tree, retreating. At length, as he fled, he picked up a pole, and quickly untying his moccasin strings, he bound his knife to the end of the pole. He then placed himself in a favourable position, behind a tree, and when the moose came up, stabbed him several times in the throat and breast. At last, the animal, exhausted with the loss of blood, fell. He then dispatched him, and cut out his tongue to carry home to his lodge as a trophy of victory. When they went back to the spot, for the carcass, they found the snow trampled down in a wide circle, and copiously sprinkled with blood, which gave it the appearance of a battle-field. It proved to be a male of uncommon size.

The domestic history of a native chief, can seldom be obtained. In the present instance, the facts that follow, may be regarded with interest, as having been obtained from residents of Chagoimegon, or from his descendants. He did not take a wife till about the age of thirty, and he then married a widow, by whom he had one son. He had obtained early notoriety as a warrior, which perhaps absorbed his attention. What causes there were to render this union unsatisfactory, or whether there were any, is not known; but after the lapse of two years, he married a girl of fourteen, of the totem of the bear, by whom he had a family of six children. He is represented as of a temper and manners affectionate and forbearing. He evinced thoughtfulness and diligence in the management of his affairs, and the order and disposition of his lodge. When the hunting season was over, he employed his leisure moments in adding to the comforts of his lodge. His lodge was of an oblong shape, ten fathoms long, and made by setting two rows of posts firmly in the ground, and sheathing the sides and roof with the smooth bark of the birch. From the centre rose a post crowned with the carved figure of an owl, which he had probably selected as a bird of good omen, for it was neither his own nor his wife's totem. This figure was so placed, that it turned with the wind, and answered the purpose of a weather-cock.

In person Wabojeeg was tall, being six feet six inches, erect in carriage,[Pg 144] and of slender make. He possessed a commanding countenance, united to ease and dignity of manners. He was a ready and fluent speaker, and conducted personally the negotiations with the Fox and Sioux nations. It was perhaps twenty years after the battle on the St. Croix, which established the Chippewa boundary in that quarter, and while his children were still young, that there came to his village, in the capacity of a trader, a young gentleman of a respectable family in the north of Ireland, who formed an exalted notion of his character, bearing, and warlike exploits. This visit, and his consequent residence on the lake, during the winter, became an important era to the chief, and has linked his name and memory with numerous persons in civilized life. Mr. Johnston asked the northern chief for his youngest daughter. Englishman, he replied, my daughter is yet young, and you cannot take her as white men have too often taken our daughters. It will be time enough to think of complying with your request, when you return again to this lake in the summer. My daughter is my favourite child, and I cannot part with her, unless you will promise to acknowledge her by such ceremonies as white men use. You must ever keep her, and never forsake her. On this basis a union was formed, a union it may be said, between the Erse and Algonquin races—and it was faithfully adhered to, till his death, a period of thirty-seven years.

Wabojeeg had impaired his health in the numerous war parties which he conducted across the wide summit which separated his hunting grounds from the Mississippi valley. A slender frame, under a life of incessant exertion, brought on a premature decay. Consumption revealed itself at a comparatively early age, and he fell before this insidious disease, in a few years, at the early age of about forty-five. He died in 1793 at his native village of Chagoimegon.

The incident which has been named, did not fail to make the forest chieftain acquainted with the leading truth of Christianity, in the revelation it makes of a saviour for all races. On the contrary, it is a truth which was brought to his knowledge and explained. It is, of course, not known with what particular effects. As he saw his end approaching, he requested that his body might not be buried out of sight, but placed, according to a custom prevalent in the remoter bands of this tribe, on a form supported by posts, or a scaffold. This trait is, perhaps, natural to the hunter state.

My friends when my spirit is fled—is fled
My friends when my spirit is fled,
Ah, put me not bound, in the dark and cold ground,
Where light shall no longer be shed—be shed,
Where day-light no more shall be shed.
[Pg 145]
But lay me up scaffolded high—all high,
Chiefs lay me up scaffolded high,
Where my tribe shall still say, as they point to my clay,
He ne'er from the foe sought to fly—to fly,
He ne'er from the foe sought to fly.
And children, who play on the shore—the shore,
And children who play on the shore,
As the war dance they beat, my name shall repeat,
And the fate of their chieftain deplore—deplore,
And the fate of their chieftain deplore.


The rules of utterance of these tribes, after all that has been said and written on the subject, are very simple, and determine the orthography, so far, at least, as relates to distinctions for the long and short vowels. If, in writing Indian, the syllables be separated by hyphens, there need be no uncertainty respecting their sounds, and we shall be saved a world of somewhat over nice disquisition. A vowel preceded by a consonant, is always long, a vowel followed by a consonant is always short. A vowel between two consonants, is short. A vowel standing by itself is always full or long. A few examples of well known words will denote this.

On ta´ ri o.
Ni ag´ ar a.
O we´ go.
Ti ó ga.
Os wé go.
I´ o wa.
Wis con´ sin.
Chi cá go.
Wá bash.
Pe ó ri a.
Tí con de ró ga.
Mis siss ip pi.
O neí da.
Al ab á ma.
O tis´ co.
Or´ e gon.

Write the words by whatever system of orthography you will, French, English, or German, and the vowel sounds will vindicate this distinction. If diphthongs have been used, for simple vowels, through early mistake or redundancy, the rule is the same. If they appear as proper diphthongs, they follow the rule of diphthongs. This principal of utterance appears to be a general and fixed law in the Indian languages as respects the sounds of e, i, o, u, and the two chief sounds of a, 1 and 3 of Walker's Key. As the letter a has four distinct sounds, as in English, the chief discrepancies, seen above, will appear in the use of this letter.

[Pg 146]






The Egyptians embalmed their dead in myrrh and spices, but the blessed art of printing has given us a surer and less revolting method of preserving and transmitting to posterity, all that is truly valuable in the plaudits of virtue, worth, and honor. Books thus become a more permanent memorial than marble, and by their diffusion scatter those lessons among all mankind, which the age of mounds and hieroglyphics, stone and papyrus, had confined to the tablet of a shaft, or the dark recesses of a tomb or a pyramid. It is never to be forgotten, that in the development of this new phasis in the history of the human race, it was printing that first lit the lamp of truth, and has driven on the experiment, till the boundaries of letters have well nigh become co-extensive with the world. If we do not widely err, there is no part of the globe, where books of all descriptions have become so cheap and abundant as they are at this time in the United States, and, laying aside all other considerations, we may find a proof of the position stated in the fact, that our vernacular literature is no longer confined to the production of school books, the annals of law and divinity, the age of muddy pamphlets, or the motley pages of the newspaper. We have no design to follow up these suggestions by showing how far the study of the natural sciences, the discussion of political economy, or the advances of belles-lettres, have operated to produce this result; far less to identify those causes, in the progress of western arts and commerce, which have concurred to bring down the price of books, and scatter the blessings of an untrammelled press, among all classes. It is sufficient for our purpose to say that even the lives of our distinguished native chieftains have come in for a share of modern notice, and, we feel proud to add, of a notice which, so far as it reaches, is worthy of the subject. And should our contributions on this head, for the last few years, be equally well followed up for a few years to come, even the desponding strains of one of[Pg 147] their own impersonated heroes can no longer be repeated with perfect truth:

"They sink, they pass, they fly, they go,
Like a vapor at morning's dawn,
Or a flash of light, whose sudden glow
Is seen, admired, and gone.
"They died; but if a brave man bleeds,
And fills the dreamless grave,
Shall none repeat his name, his deeds,
Nor tell that he was brave?"

To no one in our literary annals is the public so much indebted for rescuing from oblivion the traits and character of the four celebrated chiefs whose names stand at the head of this article, as to the able author of these biographies, William L. Stone. Gifted with a keen perception of the questions of right and wrong, which turn upon the planting of the colonies among barbarians, who more than idled away their days upon a soil which they did not cultivate—with a deep sympathy in their fate and fortunes, on the one hand, and the paramount claims of letters and Christianity on the other, he has set himself to the task of rendering justice to whom justice belongs, with the ardor of a philanthropist, and the research of a historian. He appears to have planned a series of biographies which, if completed, will give a connected view of the leading tribes who occupied New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts, with a range in the examination of contemporary men and collateral topics, which embraces a wide circle. And he has filled up the outlines of his plan, thus far, in a manner which leaves but little to glean in the path which he has trod. If the extension of this circle, and the large amount of contemporaneous matter brought in, has, in the minds of some, abstracted too large a share of attention, and left the biographies with less unity and compactness than they would otherwise have assumed, this is exclusively the fault of their plan, so far as it is acknowledged, and not of the execution. And for this course of extension there is a plea to be found in the nature of the subject, in the treatment of which, scantiness of material was often sought to be supplied by the introduction of collateral and sometimes extraneous matter.

We propose briefly to notice the series of these biographies in their order of publication. In his first work on Brant, he has presented, in living colors, the great Mohawk of 1776, who rose up to crush that confederacy which Washington and his compeers had pledged their lives to maintain. Brant was a man of power and capacities, mental and physical, beyond his tribe; and was so situated, in the actual contest, as to throw a greater weight into the scale against us, than any other, or all of the hostile chiefs of the Red Race put together. If he could not, like Ariel, call[Pg 148] up the "spirits of the vasty deep," he could, at his bidding, summon together the no less malignant spirits of the woods, who fell upon our sleeping hamlets with the fury of demons. And whether at Johnson Hall or Niagara, at Cherry Valley or Schoharie, on the waters of the Oriskany or the Chemung, he was the ruling and informing spirit of the contest. Such was the power he wielded as commander of a most effective body of light troops (for such are all Indian warriors), who were supported by large and well appointed armies, that, like the electric flashes of the boding storm, he preceded the heavier outbreak by sounding aloud the wild notes of terror and dismay. It was in this manner that his name became a talisman on the frontiers, to conjure up deeds of evil, and in this way also, doubtless, it became loaded with reproaches, some of which, as the author has denoted, were due to other actors in the contest. It is difficult, however, to disturb the judgments of a preceding age, on the character of individuals who have long passed off the stage of action, whether those judgments be favorable or unfavorable; and it is, in fact, impossible to reverse them. It is only necessary to glance backward a short way, on the track of biography, to perceive that posterity never revises the opinions once put on individual character, heroic or literary. It tries to forget all it can, and every body it can, and never remembers a long time any name which it is possible to forget. It is willing, we should infer, to concede something to the great men among barbarian nations, whose names have often burst upon civilized society with the fearful attractions of the meteor, or the comet, producing admiration in the beholders, without stopping to inquire the true cause. Such were the Tamerlanes, and the Tippoo Saibs of the eastern world, of a prior age, as well as the Mehemet Alis and Abdel Kaders of the present. And such were, also, with reduced means of action, numbers of the American aboriginal chiefs, who, between the days of Manco Capac and Micanopy have figured in the history of the western world. Most of these men owe their celebrity to the mere fact of their having dazzled or astounded, or like Brant himself, excited the terror of those who opposed them. In the case of the latter, a change of opinion in those particular traits which affect his humanity, is less readily made, from the fact, yet generally remembered, that he had received a Christian education; that he was, while a mere boy, received into the best society, acquired the English language, and had been instructed, first at a New England academy, and afterwards at one of its most practically efficient colleges. Posterity holds the Mohawk chief responsible to have carried the precepts thus obtained into the forest, and to have diffused their blessings among those who had perhaps his bravery, without his talents or his knowledge. Those who fought against him were ill qualified, we confess, to be his judges. He had not only espoused the wrong cause, wrong because it was adverse to the progress of national freedom and those very principles his people contended for; but he battled for it with a[Pg 149] master's hand, and made the force of his energy felt, as the author has more fully indicated than was before known, from the banks of the Mohawk and the Niagara, to the Ohio, the Miami, and the Wabash. Yet, if there was error in the extent to which he failed to carry the precepts of civilization and Christianity, it was meet it should be pointed out, although it will also be admitted, the public have a right to look for the strongest of these proofs of a kind and benevolent feeling towards his open enemies, out of the range of his domestic circle. His family had carried the incipient principles of civilization, which he gave them, too high—they had exhibited to the next age, a too prominent example of cultivation and refinement in every sense—not to feel deeply the obloquy cast upon his name, by the poetic spirit of the times; and not to wish that one who had, in verity, so many high and noble qualities, both in the council and the field, should also be without a spot on his humanity. We deem the feeling as honorable to all who have the blood of the chieftain in their veins as it is praiseworthy in his biographer. We cannot, however, consent to forget, that historical truth is very severe in its requisitions, and is not to be put off, by friend or foe, with hearsay testimony, or plausible surmises.

Brant cannot, like Xicotencal, be accused of having joined the invaders of his country, who were recklessly resolved upon its subjugation; but he overlooked the fact, that both the invader and the invaded in the long and bloody border warfare of the revolution, were, in all that constitutes character, the same people. They were of the same blood and lineage, spoke the same language, had the same laws and customs, and the same literature and religion, and he failed to see that the only real point of difference between them was, who should wield the sceptre. Whichever party gained the day in such a contest, letters and Christianity must triumph, and as the inevitable result, barbarism must decline, and the power of the Indian nation fall.

In Brant, barbarism and civilization evinced a strong and singular contest. He was at one moment a savage, and at another a civilian, at one moment cruel, and at another humane; and he exhibited, throughout all the heroic period of his career, a constant vacillation and struggle between good and bad, noble and ignoble feelings, and, as one or the other got the mastery, he was an angel of mercy, or a demon of destruction. In this respect, his character does not essentially vary from that which has been found to mark the other leading red men who, from Philip to Osceola, have appeared on the stage of action. Like them, his reasoning faculties were far less developed than his physical perceptions. And to attempt to follow or find anything like a fixed principle of humanity, basing itself on the higher obligations that sway the human breast, would, we fear, become a search after that which had no existence in his mind; or if the germ was there, it was too feeble to become predominant. We do not think it necessary, in commenting on his life, to enter into any nice[Pg 150] train of reasoning or motives to account for this characteristic, or to reconcile cruelties of the most shocking kind, when contrasted with traits of mildness and urbanity. They were different moods of the man, and in running back over the eventful years of his life, it becomes clear, that civilization had never so completely gained the mastery over his mind and heart, as not to desert him, without notice, the moment he heard the sound of the war-whoop. The fact that he could use the pen, supplied no insuperable motive against his wielding the war club. His tomahawk and his Testament lay on the same shelf. The worst trait in his character is revealed in his tardiness to execute acts of purposed mercy. There was too often some impediment, which served as an excuse, as when he had a ploughed field to cross to save Wells and his family, or a lame heel, or gave up the design altogether, as in the case of Wisner, whom he construed it into an act of mercy to tomahawk.

That he was, however, a man of an extraordinary firmness, courage and decision of character, is without doubt. But his fate and fortunes have not been such as to give much encouragement to chiefs of the native race in lending their influence to European, or Anglo-European powers, who may be engaged in hostilities against each other on this continent. Pontiac had realized this before him, and Tecumtha realized it after him. Neither attained the object he sought. One of these chiefs was assassinated, the other fell in battle, and Brant himself only survived the defeat of his cause, to fret out his latter days in vain attempts to obtain justice from the power which he had most loyally served, and greatly benefited. Had he been knighted at the close of the contest, instead of being shuffled from one great man to another, at home and abroad, it would have been an instance of a noble exercise of that power. But George III. seemed to have been fated, at all points, neither to do justice to his friends nor his enemies.

Such was Brant, or Thayendanegea, symbolically, the Band of his tribe,[10] to whose lot it has fallen to act a more distinguished part in the Colonies, as a consummate warrior, than any other aboriginal chieftain who has arisen. And his memory was well worthy of the elaborate work in which his biographer has presented him, in the most favourable points of view, amidst a comprehensive history of the border wars of the revolution, without, however, concealing atrocities of which he was, perhaps sometimes unwillingly, the agent.

[10] The name is usually translated, two-sticks tied, or united.

A word, and but a word, will be added, as to some points connected with this chief's character, which are not in coincidence with the generally received opinion, or are now first introduced by way of palliation, or vindication. We confess, that so far as the presence or absence of the Great Mohawk in the massacre of Wyoming, is concerned, the statements are[Pg 151] either inconclusive, or less satisfactory than could be wished. There was quite too much feeling sometimes evinced by his family, and particularly his son John, to permit us to receive the new version of the statement without some grains of allowance. An investigation is instituted by Col. Stone as to the immediate ancestry of Brant, and much importance is attached to the inquiry, whether he was descended from a line of hereditary chiefs. We think the testimony adverse to such a supposition, and it affords no unequivocal proof of talents, that notwithstanding such an adventitious circumstance, certainly without being of the line of ruling chiefs, he elevated himself to be, not only the head chief and leader of his tribe, but of the Six Nations. Courtesy and popular will attach the title of chief or sachem to men of talents, courage or eloquence among our tribes generally; and while mere descent would devolve it upon a chiefs son, whatever might be his character, yet this fact alone would be of little import, and give him little influence, without abilities: whereas abilities alone are found to raise men of note to the chieftainship, among all the North American tribes, whose customs and character are known.

It has constituted no part of our object, in these general outlines, to examine minor points of the biography or history, upon which the information or the conclusions are not so satisfactory as could be wished, or which may, indeed, be at variance with our opinions. One fact, however, connected with this name, it is not deemed proper to pass sub silentio. Brant is made to take a part in the Pontiac war, a contest arising on the fall of the French power in Canada in 1759, and which closed in 1763. Brant was at its close but twenty-one years of age, and had not, it is probable, finally returned from his New England tutors. At any rate, there is no reason to suppose, that, at that early period of his life and his influence, he could have had any participation in the events of that war.

In the life of Red Jacket, or Sagóyewata, we have a different order of Indian intellect brought to view. He was an orator and a diplomatist, and was at no period of his life noted for his skill as a warrior. Nay, there are indubitable proofs that his personal courage could not always be "screwed up to the sticking point." But in native intellect, he was even superior to Brant. He was, indeed, the Brant of the council, and often came down upon his opponents with bursts of eloquence, trains of argument, or rhapsodies of thought, which were irresistible. And of him, it may be symbolically said, that his tongue was his tomahawk, and the grandiloquent vocabulary of the Seneca language, his war-club. Nor has any native chieftain wielded the weapon to more purpose, or with a longer continued effect than the great Seneca orator. The specimens of his eloquence which have appeared in our newspapers for forty years or more, are still fresh in the memory, and it was due and meet that these should be collected and preserved in a permanent shape, together with such particulars of his life and career as could be obtained. This task has been performed[Pg 152] by Col. Stone, in a manner which leaves nothing more to be attempted on the subject. Much zeal and industry have been evinced in eliciting facts from every quarter where it was probable information could be had. And he has brought together a body of contemporaneous proofs and reminiscences, touching this chief, which a few years would have put beyond the power of recovery, and which a position less prominent than he occupied as a public journalist, might have rendered it difficult for another to collect. We need only refer to the names of Gen. P.B. Porter, Rev. J. Breckenridge, Mr. Parish, and Mr. Hosmer, to show the character of this part of his materials.

Other chiefs of the native stock, have produced occasional pieces of eloquence, or admired oratory, but Red-Jacket is the only prominent individual who has devoted his whole career to it. That he did, indeed, excel, producing effects which no reported speech of his ever equalled or did justice to, there are still many living to attest. In the question of land sales, which arose between the white and red races, there were frequent occasions to bring him out. And these, in the end, assumed a complicated shape, from either the vague nature, or ill understood conditions of prior grants. In all these discussions, he preserved a unity and consistency in the set of opinions he had adopted. He was opposed to further sales, to removal, to civilization, and to the introduction of Christianity among his people. What Brant had done in politics, Red-Jacket repeated in morals. Both took the wrong side, and both failed. But it is to be said of the Seneca orator, that he did not live to see the final defeat of that course of policy which he had so long and so ably advocated.

It was remarked by Mr. Clinton, and the fact had impressed others, that the Iroquois, or Six Nations, excelled the other natives in eloquence. Of this, their history, during the Supremacy of Holland and England in New York, as given by Colden, furnishes ample proofs. The speech of Garangula, against the Governor General of Canada and his wily policy, is unexcelled, as a whole, by anything which even Red-Jacket has left in print, though much of the effect of it is due to the superior and heroic position occupied by the tribes for whom he spoke. Logan, unexcelled by all others for his pathos and simplicity, it must be remembered, was also of this stock,—Mingo, or Mengwe, as the Delawares pronounced it, being but a generic term for Iroquois; so that the transmission of this trait, from the proud era of the Iroquois confederacy down to modern days, is quite in keeping with the opinion quoted.

It is to be wished that Col. Stone would supply another link in the chain of Iroquois history, by favoring the public with the life of the noted Oneida chief, Shenandoah, for which materials must exist in the Kirkland family.

The lives of the two men, Uncas and Miontonimo, whose leading acts[Pg 153] are described in one of the volumes named in our caption, belong to an earlier period of history, and a different theatre of action. The scene changes from western New York to the seaboard of Connecticut, Rhode Island, and, to some extent, Massachusetts. Uncas was the good genius, the tutelary spirit, if we may so say, of the colony of Connecticut; and the best monument which that State could erect to his memory, would be to change the unmeaning and worn out name of one of her counties, New London, for that of the noble and friendly chief, of whose forest kingdom it once formed a part. From the first day that the English colonists set foot within it, to the hour of his death, Uncas was the unwavering "friend of the white man," as his biographer justly calls him. He was of that race, whom history has, without making a particle of allowance for savage ignorance and hereditary prejudice, branded under the name of Pequods. They were of that type of languages and lineage, which was very well characterized generically, at least as far south as the original country of the Delawares; but which assumed a sub-type after crossing the Hudson, and was known east of that point under one of its superinduced forms, as the Mohegan. This term had been dropped by the Pequods, if it was ever their specific cognomen, but it is a proof, and we think a very conclusive proof, of the yet freshly remembered affiliation with Taminund[11] and the Manhattans, that Uncas, the moment he revolted from King Sassacus, assumed the name of a Mohegan, and put himself at the head of that tribe, as it then existed within the boundaries of Connecticut. Or rather, he constituted the revolted Pequods a new tribe, under an old and respected name, and he thus laid the foundation of the Uncas dynasty. Placed thus by circumstances in a position in which he sought an alliance with the early colonists, and finding his security in theirs, he was in fact the only leading chief of the times who, really, heartily, and faithfully sought their prosperity and growth to the end. The rise of Uncas and Connecticut thus began at one era; and as the alliance was founded on mutual interest and safety, it only grew stronger with time. A man of less force of character or natural sagacity than Uncas, would have vacillated when he saw the colonists becoming more powerful and himself more weak as years rolled on, and would have been seduced to enter into alliances for arresting the white man's power, as other native chiefs had done. But all history concurs in showing that, under every circumstance, and there were many of the most trying kind, he carried himself well, and avoided even a suspicion of his fidelity.

[11] The name of this chief is Anglicised in the word Tammany.

Uncas was well qualified for a ruler both in mind and person. He possessed a fine figure, over six feet in height, a commanding voice, and a noble bearing. He was mild yet dignified in his manners. He was not[Pg 154] only wise in council, but brave[12] in war, as he evinced in many instances, but particularly in the battle of Sachem's Plain, in which he proved himself the bravest and most chivalrous of the brave. Yet his wisdom and moderation in governing his people, and the well balanced justice and consistency of his character, give him a still higher reputation, and establish his best claim to remembrance. In all the trials in which he was placed, in all the temptations he had to fly into a rage, and act out the savage, he sustained this character for wise deliberation; and by adhering to his first covenant with the English, and laying all his plans and grievances before the colonial courts, he raised himself in strength and reputation, and finally triumphed, first over Sassacus, and then over Miontonimo, the two greatest and most powerful of his immediate contemporaries.

[12] The terms "brave" and "braves" used in a substantive sense, in this work, are neither English nor Indian. The Indian term should be translated strong-heart, its literal import; for it is one of the general rules of these languages, that the operation of the adjective, as well as action of the verb, is uniformly marked upon the substantive—there being, indeed, different inflections of each substantive, to denote whether this operation or action be caused by a noble or ignoble, or an animate or inanimate object. Still the general use of the Canadian term Brave, on our Indian border, may give it some poetic claims to introduction into our vernacular, burthened as it already is with more objectionable Americanisms.

If Uncas was the patron of Connecticut, Miontonimo, with his family of the Narragansett chiefdom, was equally so of Rhode Island. And it is from this obvious fact, probably, in part, that we find the historical notices of him, from the last quarter, decidedly more favorable to his general character than those emanating from the land of his enemy and his conqueror, Uncas. While there is no disagreement as to any historical fact of note, it is natural that some little shade of feeling of this nature should remain. We have noticed a similar feeling with respect to existing tribes and chiefs, in the western world, where the inhabitants never fail to be imbued with those peculiar notions and traditions of the particular tribe about them, which represent the latter as the principal nation, and invest them with tribal traits of superiority. It is a feeling which leans to the better side of one's nature, and does honor to men's hearts; but the historian is obliged to look at such questions with a colder eye, and can never abate a tittle of the truth, although he may run counter to this local sympathy and bias. We could name some remarkable instances of this prejudice, if we were willing to digress.

If Miontonimo be compared to Uncas, it will at once be seen that he lacked the latter's sagacity and firmness of character. Had the Narragansett listened to Sassacus, and formed a league with him, he would have crushed, for a time, the infant colony of Connecticut. This he declined, apparently, because it had the specific character of enabling Sassacus to put down Uncas. After the Pequod king had been defeated and[Pg 155] fled to the Mohawks, Miontonimo was left in a position to assume the Pequod's policy, and then tried to bring Uncas into just such a combination to fall on the colonists, as he had himself refused, when the proposition came from Sassacus. As Uncas not only refused, but laid the scheme before his allies, Miontonimo went to war against him, with a large army. Uncas hastily prepared to meet him, with a smaller force. They met on Sachem's Plain, on the banks of the Shawtucket. Uncas, unwilling to see so many of his people slain in battle, nobly stepped forward and proposed a personal combat, to decide the question of who should rule, and who obey. It was declined, but the moment the reply was made, he threw himself on the plain, a signal, it seems, for his men to advance, and they came on with such an impulse, that he won the day and took Miontonimo prisoner. This capture was the act of one of his minor chiefs; but when his enemy was brought before him, he declined exercising his right of putting him to death, but determined to refer the matter to the authorities of Hartford. There it was found to be a knotty question, and finally referred to the General Court at Boston. The Court strengthened itself with the opinions of six distinguished clergymen and several eminent civilians; and then decided, that the Narragansett chief had justly forfeited his life, by violating his political covenants with the colonies, but it might not be taken away by them. He must be remanded to Uncas, within his jurisdiction, and by him be executed; but it was enjoined, with a very poor compliment to the known mildness of the character of Uncas, that no needless cruelty should be practised. Here, then, the white man evinced less mercy than the red had done. Miontonimo was now released from his confinement, and conducted back to the very spot where he had first been taken prisoner, as he approached which, one of the Mohegans who accompanied him, keeping him in entire ignorance of his fate, raised his tomahawk as he walked behind him, and laid him dead at a blow.

Whether the moral responsibility of this execution rests with the court, or the executioner, we do not propose particularly to inquire, nor to ascertain to what degree it was shuffled off, by directing an Indian to commit an act which it was unlawful for a white man and a Christian to perform. Had Uncas slain his adversary in cold blood, after the action, the thing would have been in perfect accordance with Indian law. Had Miontonimo been a subject of either of the colonies of Connecticut, Rhode Island or Massachusetts, and levied war, or committed any overt act of treason, his execution would have been in accordance with the laws of civilized nations. Neither condition happened. It was, however, felt, that the great disturber of the colonies, after Sassacus, had now been caught. He had violated his covenant by going to war without apprising them. They did not believe he would keep any future covenants. The moral sense of the community would not be shocked, but rather gratified by his execution. This point was strongly signified to the court. But they could[Pg 156] not legally compass it. English law opposed it. The customs of civilized nations, in warring with each other, opposed it. Should a different rule be observed towards the aborigines? Did the dictates of sound judgment and common sense, did the precepts of Christianity,—aye, "there was the rub,"—did the precepts of Christianity sanction it? On full deliberation,—for the question was not decided in haste,—neither of these points could be affirmatively answered. But while policy—the policy of expediency, the lust of power, and the offended moral sense of an exposed and suffering community demanded, as it was thought, the death of the sachem, still it was not found that one whom they had ever treated, and then viewed, as a foreign prince, legally considered, could be thus deprived of his life. Imprisonment was not, as a permanent policy, resolved on. There was one course left to escape both dilemmas, and to avoid all censure. It was to restore things to the precise footing they had before his surrender. It was to hand him back to Uncas, without the expression of any decision, leaving that chieftain to act as he deemed fit. They remanded him indeed, but went one step too far, by first deciding in a formal court, after months of deliberation, in the course of which the clergy and gentry, (this is a term that would be proper to the times) had been formally consulted, and directed his death, stipulating only that he should not be killed with cruelty. If there was not something that smacks of the want of true and noble dealing in this—if it accorded with the bland precepts of Christianity, to do unto others as you would that others should do unto you—if the act did not, in fine, partake of the very spirit of Jesuitism in the worst sense in which the word has been adopted into the language we have, we confess, formed a totally wrong idea of its meaning.

A case, in some respects similar to this, happened in modern times which may be thought to contrast rather strongly with the above example of Puritan mercy. The reasons for a capital punishment, were, indeed, far more cogent, and the community called out strongly for it, and would have sustained it. It was the capture of Black Hawk, which, it will be recollected, took place during the first Presidential term of General Jackson. Black Hawk had levied war within the boundaries of one of the States, on lands ceded by treaty, and organized a confederacy of Indian tribes, which, though broken up in part, chiefly through the failure of the other tribes to fulfil their engagements with him, yet required for its suppression the entire disposable force of the Union. The Sac chief was finally captured on Indian territory, in the act of fleeing west of the Mississippi. He was imprisoned, and the case referred to the Government for decision. He had broken his treaty covenants. He had not only made war, but in its outbreak and its continuance, had been guilty of countenancing, at least, the most shocking barbarities. He had, indeed, opened the scene by cruelly murdering the agent of the Government, the representative of the President, in the person of Mr. St. Vrain. The commu[Pg 157]nity, the western States particularly, called loudly for his execution. There could be no security, it was said, if such a bloody fellow was allowed to roam at large. He had forfeited his life a thousand times. There was, indeed, the same popular feeling against him, which had existed in New England, one hundred and ninety years before, against Miontonimo. But could he have been legally executed? And if so, was it, indeed, the true policy? Was it noble—was it high-minded? Was it meting out exact and equal justice to men with red skins, as well as white? It was thought that all these questions must be negatively answered; and the bold Sac insurgent was sent home, accompanied by an officer of the army, to secure his comfort and safety, and thus to see that a wise and merciful decision should be faithfully carried out, and popular indignation be prevented from wreaking itself, in the assassination of the chief.

In closing these remarks, it may appear selfish to express the hope, that Mr. Stone, to whom we are already indebted for these spirited, comprehensive, and well written volumes, should still further employ his pen in adding to the sum of these obligations. But he has so well studied the field in its historical bearing, so far at least as relates to the eastern department of the Union, that we know of no one to whom the labour would present less of the character of a task. We are in want of a good account of Philip, or Metacom, the energetic sachem of the Pokenokets, who impersonated so fully the wild Indian character, and views, and battled so stoutly against the occupancy of New England by the Saxon race. In showing up to modern times such a man, we think a biography would derive very deep interest, and it would certainly be a new experiment, to take up the aboriginal views and opinions of the invading race, and thus write, as it were, from within, instead of without the circle of warlike action. In this way, their combinations, efforts and power, would better appear, and redound more to the credit of the aboriginal actors, as warriors and heroes. As it is, history only alludes to them as conspirators, rebels, traitors, or culprits; as if the fact of their opposing the egress of civilized nations, who were in all respects wiser and better, were sufficient to blot out all their right and claim to the soil and sovereignty of the land of their forefathers, and they were in fact bound to stand back, and give it up nolens volens.

We had designed to subjoin a few remarks on the biographical labors of other writers in this department, particularly those of Thatcher and Drake, but our limits are already exhausted, and we must abandon, or at least, defer it.

[Pg 158]



The great Pine Plains, beginning not far south of the junction of the Mohawk with the North River, are still infested by wolves, who harbour in its deep gorges, from which they sally out at night, on the sheep-folds of the farmers, and often put a whole neighbourhood in fear. The railroad track from Albany to Schenectady, passes over a part of these plains, which stretch away in the direction of the blue outlines of the Helderberg mountains. It is many miles across the narrowest part of them, and they reach down to the very outskirts of the city of Albany, where they have of late years, and since Buel's day, begun to cultivate them by sowing clover, planting fruit trees, and in other ways. They constitute the table land of the county, and send out from beneath their heavy mass of yellow sand and broken down sand stones, mica slates, and granites, many springs and streams of the purest and most crystalline waters, which find their outlets chiefly into the valley of the Tawasentha, or, as the river is called in popular language, the Norman's Kill, and are thus contributed to swell the noble volume of the Hudson. These springs issue at the precise point where the arenaceous mass rests on a clay or impervious basis. The effect, in ancient years, has been that the sand is carried off, grain by grain, till a deep ravine or gorge is formed. The sides of this gorge being composed of mixed earth and some mould, and free from the aridity of the surface, bear a dense and vigorous growth of hard wood trees and shrubbery, and are often found to be encumbered with immense trunks of fallen pines and other forest rubbish, which renders it very difficult to penetrate them. It is into these dark gorges that the wolves retreat, after scouring the plains and neighbouring farms for prey; and here they have maintained their ancient empire from time immemorial. Such, at least, was the state of things between the settlers and the wolves, at the date of this story, in 1807.

Sometimes the whole country armed and turned out en masse, to ferret them out of their fastnesses and destroy them; and truly the forces assembled on some of these wolf-hunts were surprising, and, in one respect, that is to say, the motley and uncouth character of their arms, they would have put both Bonaparte and Wellington to flight. There was nothing, from a pitchfork to a heavy blunderbuss, which they did not carry, always excepting a good rifle, which I never remember to have seen on these occasions. Indeed, these formal turn-outs were better suited to frighten away, than to kill and capture the foe; so that there was no[Pg 159] just cause of surprise why the wolves remained, and even increased. They still kept masters of the Plains—sheep were killed by dozens, night after night, and the alarm went on.

It was at other times tried to trap them, and to bait them in sundry ways. I recollect that we all had implicit faith in the village schoolmaster, one Cleanthus, who knew some Latin, and a little of almost every thing; and among other arts which he cherished, and dealt out in a way to excite wonder for his skill, he knew how to make the wolves follow his tracks, by smearing his shoes with æsofœdita, or some other substance, and then ensconcing himself at night in a log pen, where he might bid defiance to the best of them, and shoot at them besides. But I never could learn that there were any of these pestiferous animals killed, either by the schoolmaster and his party, or any other party, except it was the luckless poor animal I am about to write of, which showed its affinities to the canine race by turning rabid, and rushing at night into the midst of a populous manufacturing village.

Iosco was eligibly seated on the summit and brow of a picturesque series of low crowned hills, just on the southern verge of these great Plains, where the tillable and settled land begins. It was, consequently, in relation to these wolves, a perfect frontier; and we had not only frequent alarms, but also the privilege and benefit of hearing all the wonderful stories of wolf-adventure, to man and beast, for a wide circle. Indeed, these stories often came back with interest, from the German and Dutch along the Swarta Kill, and Boza Kill settlements, away up to the foot of the Helderberg mountains. A beautiful and clear stream of sparkling cold water, called the Hungerkill, after gathering its crystal tributaries from the deep gorges of the plains, ran through the village, and afforded one or two seats for mills, and after winding and doubling on its track a mile or two, rendered its pellucid stores into the Norman's Kill, or, as this stream was called by the ancient Mohawk race, in allusion to their sleeping dead, the Tawasentha. No stream in the country was more famous for the abundance of its fine brook trout, and the neighbouring plains served to shelter the timid hare, and the fine species of northern partridge, which is there always called a pheasant.

The village was supported by its manufacturing interests, and was quite populous. It had a number of long streets, some of which reached across the stream, and over a spacious mill pond, and others swept at right angles along the course of the great Cherry Valley turnpike. In its streets were to be heard, in addition to the English, nearly all the dialects of the German between the Rhine and the Danube; the Low Dutch as spoken by the common country people on the manor of Rensselaerwyck, the Erse and Gaelic, as not unfrequently used by the large proportion of its Irish and Scotch, and what seemed quite as striking to one brought up in seclusion from it, the genuine Yankee, as discoursed by[Pg 160] the increasing class of factory wood choppers, teamsters, schoolmasters, men out at the elbows, and travelling wits. The latter were indeed but a sorry representation of New England, as we have since found it. No small amount of superstitions were believed and recited in the social meetings of such a mixed foreign population. Accounts of instances of the second sight, death-lights on the meadows and in the churchyard, the low howling of premonitory dogs before funerals, and other legendary wares, to say nothing of the actual and veritable number of downright spooks, seen on various occasions, on the lands of the Veeders, the Van Valkenburgs, the Truaxes, and the Lagranges, rendered it a terror to all children under twelve to stir out of doors after dark. There were in the annals of Iosco, several events in the historical way which served as perfect eras to its inhabitants; but none, it is believed, of so striking and general importance as the story of the Mad Wolf, of which I am about to write.

There had been found, soon after the close of the revolutionary war, in a dark wood very near the road, pieces of a cloth coat and metallic buttons, and other things, which rendered it certain that a man had been murdered at that spot, in consequence of which the place was shunned, or hurried by, as if a spirit of evil had its abode there. On another occasion, the body of a poor old man of the name of Homel, was found drowned deep in the Norman's Kill, clasped in the arms of his wife, both dead. A gentleman of standing, who ventured alone, rather groggy, one dark night, over the long unrailed bridge that crossed the mill pond, pitched upon some sharp pallisadoes in the water, and came to a melancholy end. Hormaun, an Iroquois, who haunted the valley, had killed, it was said, ninety-nine men, and was waiting an opportunity to fill his count, by dispatching his hundredth man. This was a greatly dreaded event, particularly by the boys. There was also the era, when a Race Course had been established on a spot called the "Colonel's Farm," and the era of the "Deep Snow." There were many other events celebrated in Iosco, such as the De Zeng era, the Van Rensselaer era, and the Van Kleeck era, which helped the good mothers to remember the period when their children were born; but none, indeed, of so notable a character to youthful minds as the adventure of the mad wolf.

Wolf stories were in vogue, in fact, in the evening and tea party circles of Iosco for many years; and if one would take every thing as it was given, there had been more acts of bravery, conduct, and firm decision of character and foresight, displayed in encountering these wild vixens of the plains and valleys by night, than would, if united, have been sufficient to repel the inroads of Burgoyne, St. Leger, or Sir John Johnson, with Brant, and all his hosts of tories and Indians, during the American revolution.

I chanced one night to have left the city of Albany, in company with[Pg 161] one of these heroic spirits. We occupied my father's chaise, an old fashioned piece of gentility now out of vogue, drawn by a prime horse, one which he always rode on parades. It was late before we got out of the precincts of the city, and up the hill, and night overtook us away in the pine woods, at Billy McKown's, a noted public-house seated half way between the city and Iosco, where it was customary in those days to halt; for besides that he was much respected, and one of the most sensible and influential men in the town, it was not thought right, whatever the traveller might require, that a horse should be driven eight miles without drawing breath, and having a pail of water. As I was but young, and less of a charioteer than my valiant companion, he held the whip and reins thus far; but after the wolf stories that poured in upon us at McKown's that evening, he would hold them no longer. Every man, he thought, was responsible to himself. He did not wish to be wolf's meat that night, so he hired a fleet horse from our host, and a whip and spurs, and set off with the speed of a Jehu, leaving me to make my way, in the heavy chaise, through the sandy plains, as best I could.

In truth we had just reached the most sombre part of the plain, where the trees were more thick, the sand deep and heavy, and not a house but one, within the four miles. To render it worse, this was the chief locality of wolf insolence, where he had even ventured to attack men. It was on this route too, that the schoolmaster had used his medical arts, which made it better known through the country as the supposed centre of their power. Nothing harmed me, however; the horse was fine, and I reached home not only uneaten, but unthreatened by a wolf's jaw.

But I must confine myself to the matter in hand. A large and fierce wolf sallied out of the plains one dark summer's night, and rushed into the midst of the village, snapping to the right and left as he went, and biting every animal that came in his way. Cows, swine, pigs, geese—every species, whether on four legs, or two legs, shared its malice alike. The animal seemed to have a perfect ubiquity—it was every where, and seemed to have spared nothing. It is not recollected that there was a single house, or barn-yard in the village, where something had not been bitten. If he had come on an errand of retribution, for the great and threatening wolf-parties which had gone out against his race, and all the occult arts of the schoolmaster in trying to decoy them at Barrett's hollow, he could not have dealt out his venomous snaps more indiscriminately.

It must have been about midnight, or soon after, that the fearful visitor came. Midnight, in a country village, finds almost every one in bed, but such was the uproar among the animal creation, made by this strange interloper, that out of bed they soon come. The cattle bellowed, the pigs squealed, the poultry cackled—there must be something amiss. Santa Claus himself must be playing his pranks. "A wolf!" was the cry—"a wolf is committing havoc." "It is mad!" came next on the voices of the[Pg 162] night. "A mad wolf!—a mad wolf!" Nothing but a mad wolf could venture alone into the heart of the village, and do so much mischief. Out ran the people into the streets, men, women and all. Some caught up guns, some clubs, some pitchforks. If the tories and Indians, in the old French war, had broke into the settlement with fire and sword, there could not have been a greater tumult, and nothing but a mad wolf would have stood his ground. Where is he? which way did he run? who saw him? and a thousand like expressions followed. He had gone south, and south the mob pushed after him. He was away over on the street that leads up from the middle factory. It was a cloudy night, or the moon only came out fitfully, and threw light enough to discern objects dimly, as the clouds rolled before it. Indistinct murmurs came on the breeze, and at length the scream of a woman. The cause of it soon followed. The wolf had bitten Mrs. Sitz. Now Mrs. Sitz was a careful, tall, rigid-faced, wakeful housewife, from the dutchy of Hesse D'Armstadt, who had followed the fortunes of her husband, in trying his mechanical skill in the precincts of Iosco; but while her husband Frank laid fast asleep, under the influence of a hard day's labour, her ears were open to the coming alarm. It was not long before she heard a tumult in her goose pen. The rabid animal had bounded into the midst of them, which created as great an outcry as if Rome had a second time been invaded. Out she ran to their relief, not knowing the character of the disturber, but naturally thinking it was some thief of a neighbour, who wished to make provision for a coming Christmas. The animal gave her one snap and leapt the pen. "Mein hemel!" screamed she, "er hat mein gebissen!" Sure enough the wolf had bit her in the thigh.

The party in chase soon came up, and while some stopt to parley and sympathize with her, others pushed on after the animal—the spitzbug, as she spitefully called him. By this time the wolf had made a circuit of the southern part of the village, and scampered down the old factory road, by the mill dam, under the old dark bridge at the saw mill, and up the hill by the old public store; and thus turned his course back towards the north, into the thickest part of the village, where he had first entered. He had made a complete circuit. All was valour, boasting, and hot speed behind him, but the wolf had been too nimble for them. Unluckily for him, however, while the main group pushed behind, just as he was scampering up the old store hill, he was suddenly headed by a party coming down it. This party was led by old Colonel S., a revolutionary soldier, a field-officer of the county militia, and the superintendent of the extensive manufacturing establishment from which the village drew its prosperity. He was armed with a fusil of the olden time, well charged, and having been roused from his bed in a hurry, could not at the moment find his hat, and clapt on an old revolutionary cocked hat, which hung in the room. His appearance was most opportune; he halted on the brow of[Pg 163] the hill; and as the wolf bounded on he levelled his piece at the passing fugitive, and fired. He had aimed at the shoulders; the fleetness of its speed, however, saved its vital parts, but the shot took effect in the animal's hind legs. They were both broken at a shot. This brought him down. The poor creature tried to drag himself on by his fore paws, but his pursuers were too close upon him, and they soon dispatched him with hatchets and clubs.

Thus fell the rabid wolf, to be long talked of by men and boys, and put down as a chief item in village traditions. But the effects of his visit did not end here. In due time, symptoms of madness seized the cattle and other animals, which had come within the reach of his teeth. Many of the finest milch cows were shot. Calves and swine, and even poultry went rabid; and as things of this kind are generally overdone, there was a perfect panic in the village on the subject, and numbers of valuable animals were doubtless shot, merely because they happened to show some restiveness at a very critical epoch.

But what, methinks the reader is ready to ask, became of Mrs. Sitz? Whether it was, that she had brought over some mystical arts from the Wild Huntsman of Bohemia, or had derived protection from the venom through the carefully administered medicines of Dr. Crouse, who duly attended the case, or some inherent influence of the stout hearted woman, or the audacity of the bite itself, had proved more than a match for the wolf, I cannot say; but certain it is, that while oxen and kine, swine and fatlings, fell under the virus and were shot, she recovered, and lived many years to scold her dozing husband Frank, who did not jump up immediately, and come to her rescue at the goose pen.

Indian Possessions.—The Ottoes own, at the latest accounts, a large tract of country on the Big Platte, west of the Missouri; they are a poor race of people, and receive a small annuity of $2,500. The Pawnees are a powerful body, and number about 6,500 persons, divided into bands under the names of Pawnee Loups, Grand Pawnees, Republican Pawnees, Pawnee Pics, &c.; they are wild and furtive in their habits, and receive provisions and goods. The Grand Nation is the Pottowattomies, or the "united bands of the Chippewas, Ottawas, and Pottowattomies." They own five millions of acres of prairie lands, along the Missouri river to the Little Sioux, number about 2,000, and receive $42,000 a year for their lands sold in Illinois and Michigan. They are a respectable body of Indians, are good farmers, and educate their children. The payment of the annuities is always a season of great hilarity and festivity.—N. O. Pic.

[Pg 164]It is a characteristic of some of the Indian legends, that they convey a moral which seems clearly enough to denote, that a part of these legends were invented to convey instruction to the young folks who listen to them. The known absence of all harsh methods among the Indians, in bringing up their children, favours this idea. The following tale addresses itself plainly to girls; to whom it teaches the danger of what we denominate coquetry. It would seem from this, that beauty, and its concomitant, a passion for dress, among the red daughters of Adam and Eve, has the same tendency to create pride, and nourish self-conceit, and self-esteem, and assume a tyranny over the human heart, which writers tell us, these qualities have among their white-skinned, auburn-haired, and blue-eyed progeny the world over. This tale has appeared in the "Columbian." The term Moowis is one of the most derogative and offensive possible. It is derived from the Odjibwa substantive, mo, filth, or excrement.





In a large village, there lived a noted belle, or Ma mon dá go kwa, who was the admiration of all the young hunters and warriors. She was particularly admired by a young man, who from his good figure, and the care he took in his dress, was called the Beau-Man, or Ma mon dá gin in-e. This young man had a friend and companion, whom he made a confidant of his affairs. "Come," said he, one day in a sportive mood, "let us go a courting to her who is so handsome, perhaps she may fancy one of us." But she would listen to neither of them, and when the handsome young man rallied from the coldness of her air, and made an effort to overcome her indifference, she put together her thumb and three fingers, and raising her hand gracefully towards him, deliberately opened them in his face. This gesticulatory mode of rejection is one of the highest contempt, and the young hunter retired confused and abashed. His sense of pride was deeply wounded, and he was the more piqued, that it had been done in the presence of others, and the affair was soon noised about the village, and became the talk of every lodge circle. Besides, he was a very sensitive man, and the thing so preyed upon him, that he became moody, and at last took to his bed. He was taciturn, often lying for days without uttering a word, with his eyes fixed on vacancy, and taking little or no food. From this state no efforts could rouse him; he felt abashed and dishonoured, even in the presence of his own relatives, and no persuasions could induce him to rise. So that when the family prepared to take down the lodge to remove, he still kept his bed, and they were compelled to lift it over his head, and leave him upon his skin couch. It was a time of general removal and breaking up of the camp, for it was only a winter's hunting camp, and as the season of the hunt was now over, and[Pg 165] spring began to appear, they all moved off, as by one impulse, to the place of their summer village, and in a short time, all were gone, and he was left alone. The last person to leave him was his boon companion, and cousin, who has been mentioned as also one of the admirers of the forest belle. But even his voice was disregarded, and as soon as his steps died away on the creaking snow, the stillness and solitude of the wilderness reigned around.

As soon as all were gone, and he could no longer, by listening, hear the remotest sounds of the departing camp, the Beau-Man arose. It is to be understood that this young man was aided by a powerful guardian spirit, or personal Moneto; and he resolved to make use of his utmost power to punish and humble the girl. For she was noted in the tribe for her coquetry, and had treated others, who were every way her equals, as she had done him. He resolved on a singular stratagem, by way of revenge. For this purpose, he walked over the deserted camp, and gathered up all the bits of soiled cloth, clippings of finery, and cast off clothing, and ornaments which had either been left or lost. These he carefully picked out of the snow, into which some of them had been trodden and partially buried, and conveyed them to one place. The motley heap of gaudy and soiled stuffs, he restored to their original beauty, and determined to make them into a coat and leggins, which he trimmed with beads, and finished and decorated after the best fashion of his tribe. He then made a pair of moccasins and garnished them with beads, a bow and arrows, and a frontlet and feathers for the head. Having done this, he searched about for cast out bones of animals, pieces of skins, clippings of dried meat, and even dirt, and having cemented them together with snow, he filled the clothes with these things, and pressed the mass firmly in, and fashioned it externally in all respects, like a tall and well framed man. He put a bow and arrows in his hands, and the frontlet on his head. And having finished it, he brought it to life, and the image stood forth, in the most favoured lineaments of his fellows. Such was the origin of Moowis, or the Dirt and Rag Man.

"Follow me," said the Beau-Man, "and I will direct you, how you shall act." He was indeed, a very sightly person, and as they entered the new encampment, the many colours of his clothes, the profusion of ornaments which he had managed to give him, and his fine manly step, and animated countenance, drew all eyes. And he was received by all, both old and young, with marks of attention. The chief invited him to his lodge, and he was feasted on the moose's hump and the finest venison.

But no one was better pleased with the handsome stranger than Ma mon dá go kwa. She fell in love with him at the first sight, and he was an invited guest at the lodge of her mother, the very first evening of his arrival. The Beau-man went with him, for it was under his patronage that he had been introduced, and, in truth, he had another motive for accompanying him, for he had not yet wholly subdued his feelings of admira[Pg 166]tion for the object, against whom he had, nevertheless, exerted all his necromantic power, and he held himself subject to any favourable turn, which he secretly hoped the visit might take, in relation to himself. But no such turn occurred. Moowis attracted the chief attention, and every eye and heart were alert to entertain him. In this effort on the part of his entertainers, they had well nigh revealed his true character, and dissolved him into his original elements of rags, and snow, and dirt; for he was assigned the most prominent place before the fire: this was a degree of heat which he could by no means endure. To ward it off he put a boy between himself and the fire. He shifted his position frequently, and evaded, by dexterous manœuvres, and timely remarks, the pressing invitation of his host to sit up, and enjoy it. He so managed these excuses, as not only to conceal his dread of immediate dissolution, but to secure the further approbation of the fair forest girl, who could not but admire one who had so brave a spirit of endurance against the paralysing effects of cold.

The visit proved that the rejected lover had well calculated the effects of his plan. He withdrew from the lodge, and Moowis triumphed. Before he went, he saw him cross the lodge to the coveted abinos, or bridegroom's seat. Marriage in the forest race, is a simple ceremony, and where the impediments of custom are small, there is but little time demanded for their execution. The dart which Ma mon dá go kwa had so often delighted in sending to the hearts of her admirers, she was at length fated herself to receive. She had married an image. As the morning begun to break, the stranger arose and adjusted his warrior's plumes, and took his forest weapons to depart. "I must go," said he, "for I have an important business to do, and there are many hills and streams between me and the object of my journey." "I will go with you," she replied. "It is too far," he rejoined, "and you are ill able to encounter the perils of the way." "It is not so far, but that I can go," she responded, "and there are no dangers which I will not fully share for you."

Moowis returned to the lodge of his master, and detailed to him the events we have described. Pity, for a moment, seized the breast of the rejected youth. He regretted that she should thus have cast herself away upon an image and a shadow, when she might have been mistress of the best lodge in the band. "But it is her own folly," he said, "she has turned a deaf ear to the counsels of prudence, and she must submit to her fate."

The same morning the Image-man set forth, and his wife followed him, according to custom, at a distance. The way was rough and intricate, and she could not keep up with his rapid pace; but she struggled hard, and perseveringly to overtake him. Moowis had been long out of sight, when the sun arose, and commenced upon his snow-formed body the work of dissolution. He began to melt away, and fall to pieces. As she followed him, piece after piece of his clothing were found in the path.[Pg 167] She first found his mittens, then his moccasins, then his leggins, then his coat, and other parts of his garments. As the heat unbound them, they had all returned also to their debased and filthy condition. The way led over rocks, through wind falls, across marshes. It whirled about to all points of the compass, and had no certain direction or object. Rags, bones, leather, beads, feathers, and soiled ribbons, were found, but she never caught the sight of Moowis. She spent the day in wandering; and when evening came, she was no nearer the object of her search than in the morning, but the snow having now melted, she had completely lost his track, and wandered about, uncertain which way to go, and in a state of perfect despair. Finding herself lost, she begun, with bitter cries, to bewail her fate.

"Moowis, Moowis," she cried. "Nin ge won e win ig, ne won e win ig"—that is—Moowis, Moowis, you have led me astray—you are leading me astray. And with this cry she continued to wander in the woods.

Sometimes the village girls repeat the above words, varying the expressions, till they constitute an irregular kind of song, which, according to the versions of a friendly hand, may be set down as follows:—

Moowis! Moowis!
Forest rover,——
Where art thou?
Ah my bravest, gayest lover,
Guide me now.
Moowis! Moowis!
Ah believe me,
List my moan,
Do not—do not, brave heart, leave me
All alone.
Moowis! Moowis!
Foot-prints vanished,
Whither wend I,
Fated, lost, detested, banished,
Must I die.
Moowis! Moowis!
Whither goest,
Eye-bright lover,
Ah thou ravenous bird that knowest,
I see you hover.
As I wander,
But to spy
Where I fall, and then to batten,
On my breast.

[Pg 168]



A little orphan boy who had no one to care for him, was once living with his uncle, who treated him very badly, making him do hard things and giving him very little to eat; so that the boy pined away, he never grew much, and became, through hard usage, very thin and light. At last the uncle felt ashamed of this treatment, and determined to make amends for it, by fattening him up, but his real object was, to kill him by over-feeding. He told his wife to give the boy plenty of bear's meat, and let him have the fat, which is thought to be the best part. They were both very assiduous in cramming him, and one day came near choking him to death, by forcing the fat down his throat. The boy escaped and fled from the lodge. He knew not where to go, but wandered about. When night came on, he was afraid the wild beasts would eat him, so he climbed up into the forks of a high pine tree, and there he fell asleep in the branches, and had an aupoway, or ominous dream.

A person appeared to him from the upper sky, and said, "My poor little lad, I pity you, and the bad usage you have received from your uncle has led me to visit you: follow me, and step in my tracks." Immediately his sleep left him, and he rose up and followed his guide, mounting up higher and higher into the air, until he reached the upper sky. Here twelve arrows were put into his hands, and he was told that there were a great many manitoes in the northern sky, against whom he must go to war, and try to waylay and shoot them. Accordingly he went to that part of the sky, and, at long intervals, shot arrow after arrow, until he had expended eleven, in vain attempt to kill the manitoes. At the flight of each arrow, there was a long and solitary streak of lightning in the sky—then all was clear again, and not a cloud or spot could be seen. The twelfth arrow he held a long time in his hands, and looked around keenly on every side to spy the manitoes he was after. But these manitoes were very cunning, and could change their form in a moment. All they feared was the boy's arrows, for these were magic arrows, which had been given to him by a good spirit, and had power to kill them, if aimed aright. At length, the boy drew up his last arrow, settled in his aim, and let fly, as he thought, into the very heart of the chief of the manitoes; but before the arrow reached him, he changed himself into a rock. Into this rock, the head of the arrow sank deep and stuck fast.

"Now your gifts are all expended," cried the enraged manito, "and I will make an example of your audacity and pride of heart, for lifting your bow against me"—and so saying, he transformed the boy into the Nazhik-a-wä wä sun, or Lone Lightning, which may be observed in the northern sky to this day.

[Pg 169]







[These confessions of the Western Pythoness were made after she had relinquished the prophetic office, discarded all the ceremonies of the Indian Medáwin and Jesukeéwin, and united herself to the Methodist Episcopal church, of which, up to our latest dates, she remained a consistent member. They are narrated in her own words.]

When I was a girl of about twelve or thirteen years of age, my mother told me to look out for something that would happen to me. Accordingly, one morning early, in the middle of winter, I found an unusual sign, and ran off, as far from the lodge as I could, and remained there until my mother came and found me out. She knew what was the matter, and brought me nearer to the family lodge, and bade me help her in making a small lodge of branches of the spruce tree. She told me to remain there, and keep away from every one, and as a diversion, to keep myself employed in chopping wood, and that she would bring me plenty of prepared bass wood bark to twist into twine. She told me she would come to see me, in two days, and that in the meantime I must not even taste snow.

I did as directed; at the end of two days she came to see me. I thought she would surely bring me something to eat, but to my disappointment she brought nothing. I suffered more from thirst, than hunger, though I felt my stomach gnawing. My mother sat quietly down and said (after ascertaining that I had not tasted anything, as she directed), "My child, you are the youngest of your sisters, and none are now left me of all my sons and children, but you four" (alluding to her two elder sisters, herself and a little son, still a mere lad). "Who," she continued, "will take care of us poor women? Now, my daughter, listen to me, and try to obey. Blacken your face and fast really, that the Master of Life may have pity on you and me, and on us all. Do not, in the least, deviate from my counsels, and in two days more, I[Pg 170] will come to you. He will help you, if you are determined to do what is right, and tell me, whether you are favored or not, by the true Great Spirit; and if your visions are not good, reject them." So saying, she departed.

I took my little hatchet and cut plenty of wood, and twisted the cord that was to be used in sewing ap puk way oon un, or mats, for the use of the family. Gradually, I began to feel less appetite, but my thirst continued; still I was fearful of touching the snow to allay it, by sucking it, as my mother had told me that if I did so, though secretly, the Great Spirit would see me, and the lesser spirits also, and that my fasting would be of no use. So I continued to fast till the fourth day, when my mother came with a little tin dish, and filling it with snow, she came to my lodge, and was well pleased to find that I had followed her injunctions. She melted the snow, and told me to drink it. I did so, and felt refreshed, but had a desire for more, which she told me would not do, and I contented myself with what she had given me. She again told me to get and follow a good vision—a vision that might not only do us good, but also benefit mankind, if I could. She then left me, and for two days she did not come near me, nor any human being, and I was left to my own reflections. The night of the sixth day, I fancied a voice called to me, and said: "Poor child! I pity your condition; come, you are invited this way;" and I thought the voice proceeded from a certain distance from my lodge. I obeyed the summons, and going to the spot from which the voice came, found a thin shining path, like a silver cord, which I followed. It led straight forward, and, it seemed, upward. No. 3. After going a short distance I stood still, and saw on my right hand the new moon, with a flame rising from the top like a candle, which threw around a broad light. No. 4. On the left appeared the sun, near the point of its setting. No. 11. I went on, and I beheld on my right the face of Kau ge gag be qua, or the everlasting woman, No. 5, who told me her name, and said to me, "I give you my name, and you may give it to another. I also give you that which I have, life everlasting. I give you long life on the earth, and skill in saving life in others. Go, you are called on high."

I went on, and saw a man standing with a large circular body, and rays from his head, like horns. No. 6. He said, "Fear not, my name is Monedo Wininees, or the Little man Spirit. I give this name to your first son. It is my life. Go to the place you are called to visit." I followed the path till I could see that it led up to an opening in the sky, when I heard a voice, and standing still, saw the figure of a man standing near the path, whose head was surrounded with a brilliant halo, and his breast was covered with squares. No. 7. He said to me: "Look at me, my name is O Shau wau e geeghick, or the Bright Blue Sky. I am the veil that covers the opening into the sky. Stand and listen to me.[Pg 171] Do not be afraid. I am going to endow you with gifts of life, and put you in array that you may withstand and endure." Immediately I saw myself encircled with bright points which rested against me like needles, but gave me no pain, and they fell at my feet. No. 9. This was repeated several times, and at each time they fell to the ground. He said, "wait and do not fear, till I have said and done all I am about to do." I then felt different instruments, first like awls, and then like nails stuck into my flesh, but neither did they give me pain, but like the needles, fell at my feet, as often as they appeared. He then said, "that is good," meaning my trial by these points. "You will see length of days. Advance a little farther," said he. I did so, and stood at the commencement of the opening. "You have arrived," said he, "at the limit you cannot pass. I give you my name, you can give it to another. Now, return! Look around you. There is a conveyance for you. No. 10. Do not be afraid to get on its back, and when you get to your lodge, you must take that which sustains the human body." I turned, and saw a kind of fish swimming in the air, and getting upon it as directed, was carried back with celerity, my hair floating behind me in the air. And as soon as I got back, my vision ceased.

In the morning, being the sixth day of my fast, my mother came with a little bit of dried trout. But such was my sensitiveness to all sounds, and my increased power of scent, produced by fasting, that before she came in sight I heard her, while a great way off, and when she came in, I could not bear the smell of the fish or herself either. She said, "I have brought something for you to eat, only a mouthful, to prevent your dying." She prepared to cook it, but I said, "Mother, forbear, I do not wish to eat it—the smell is offensive to me." She accordingly left off preparing to cook the fish, and again encouraged me to persevere, and try to become a comfort to her in her old age and bereaved state, and left me.

I attempted to cut wood, as usual, but in the effort I fell back on the snow, from weariness, and lay some time; at last I made an effort and rose, and went to my lodge and lay down. I again saw the vision, and each person who had before spoken to me, and heard the promises of different kinds made to me, and the songs. I went the same path which I had pursued before, and met with the same reception. I also had another vision, or celestial visit, which I shall presently relate. My mother came again on the seventh day, and brought me some pounded corn boiled in snow water, for she said I must not drink water from lake or river. After taking it, I related my vision to her. She said it was good, and spoke to me to continue my fast three days longer. I did so; at the end of which she took me home, and made a feast in honor of my success, and invited a great many guests. I was told to eat sparingly, and to take nothing too hearty or substantial; but this was unnecessary, for my abstinence had made my senses so acute, that all animal food had a gross and disagreeable odor.

[Pg 172]After the seventh day of my fast (she continued), while I was lying in my lodge, I saw a dark round object descending from the sky like a round stone, and enter my lodge. As it came near, I saw that it had small feet and hands like a human body. It spoke to me and said, "I give you the gift of seeing into futurity, that you may use it, for the benefit of yourself and the Indians—your relations and tribes-people." It then departed, but as it went away, it assumed wings, and looked to me like the red-headed woodpecker.

In consequence of being thus favored, I assumed the arts of a medicine woman and a prophetess; but never those of a Wabeno. The first time I exercised the prophetical art, was at the strong and repeated solicitations of my friends. It was in the winter season, and they were then encamped west of the Wisacoda, or Brule river of Lake Superior, and between it and the plains west. There were, besides my mother's family and relatives, a considerable number of families. They had been some time at the place, and were near starving, as they could find no game. One evening the chief of the party came into my mother's lodge. I had lain down, and was supposed to be asleep, and he requested of my mother that she would allow me to try my skill to relieve them. My mother spoke to me, and after some conversation, she gave her consent. I told them to build the Jee suk aun, or prophet's lodge, strong, and gave particular directions for it. I directed that it should consist of ten posts or saplings, each of a different kind of wood, which I named. When it was finished, and tightly wound with skins, the entire population of the encampment assembled around it and I went in, taking only a small drum. I immediately knelt down, and holding my head near the ground, in a position as near as may be prostrate, began beating my drum, and reciting my songs or incantations. The lodge commenced shaking violently, by supernatural means. I knew this, by the compressed current of air above, and the noise of motion. This being regarded by me, and by all without, as a proof of the presence of the spirits I consulted, I ceased beating and singing, and lay still, waiting for questions, in the position I had at first assumed.

The first question put to me, was in relation to the game, and where it was to be found. The response was given by the orbicular spirit, who had appeared to me. He said, "How short-sighted you are! If you will go in a west direction, you will find game in abundance." Next day the camp was broken up, and they all moved westward, the hunters, as usual, going far ahead. They had not proceeded far beyond the bounds of their former hunting circle, when they came upon tracks of moose, and that day, they killed a female and two young moose, nearly full-grown. They pitched their encampment anew, and had abundance of animal food in this new position.

My reputation was established by this success, and I was after[Pg 173]wards noted in the tribe, in the art of a medicine woman, and sung the songs which I have given to you. About four years after, I was married to O Mush Kow Egeezhick, or the Strong Sky, who was a very active and successful hunter, and kept his lodge well supplied with food; and we lived happy. After I had had two children, a girl and a boy, we went out, as is the custom of the Indians in the spring, to visit the white settlements. One night, while we were encamped at the head of the portage at Pauwating (the Falls of St. Mary's), angry words passed between my husband and a half Frenchman named Gaultier, who, with his two cousins, in the course of the dispute, drew their knives and a tomahawk, and stabbed and cut him in four or five places, in his body, head and thighs. This happened the first year that the Americans came to that place (1822). He had gone out at a late hour in the evening, to visit the tent of Gaultier. Having been urged by one of the trader's men to take liquor that evening, and it being already late, I desired him not to go, but to defer his visit till next day; and after he had left the lodge, I felt a sudden presentiment of evil, and I went after him, and renewed my efforts in vain. He told me to return, and as I had two children in the lodge, the youngest of whom, a boy, was still in his cradle, and then ill, I sat up with him late, and waited and waited, till a late hour, and then fell asleep from exhaustion. I slept very sound. The first I knew, was a violent shaking from a girl, a niece of Gaultier's, who told me my husband and Gaultier were all the time quarrelling. I arose, and went up the stream to Gaultier's camp fire. It was nearly out, and I tried in vain to make it blaze. I looked into his tent, but all was dark and not a soul there. They had suddenly fled, although I did not at the moment know the cause. I tried to make a light to find my husband, but could find nothing dry, for it had rained very hard the day before. After being out a while my vision became clearer, and turning toward the river side, I saw a dark object lying near the shore, on a grassy opening. I was attracted by something glistening, which turned out to be his ear-rings. I thought he was asleep, and in stooping to awake him, I slipped and fell on my knees. I had slipped in his blood on the grass, and putting my hand on his face, found him dead. In the morning the Indian agent came with soldiers from the fort, to see what had happened, but the murderer and all his bloody gang of relatives had fled. The agent gave orders to have the body buried in the old Indian burial ground, below the Falls.

My aged mother was encamped about a mile off, at this time. I took my two children in the morning, and fled to her lodge. She had just heard of the murder, and was crying as I entered. I reminded her that it was an act of providence, to which we must submit. She said it was for me and my poor helpless children that she was crying—that I was left as she had been, years before, with nobody to provide for us.[Pg 174] With her I returned to my native country at Chegoimegon on Lake Superior.

Thus far, her own narrative. We hope, in a future number, to give further particulars of her varied, and rather eventful life; together with specimens of her medicine, and prophetic songs.


Died, on the 13th inst. (August, 1841), at his residence on the St. Mary's, four and a half miles south-west of this city, John B. Richardville, principal chief of the Miami nation of Indians, aged about eighty years.

Chief Richardville, or "Piskewah" (which is an Indian name, meaning in English "wild-cat"), was born on the point across the Maumee river, opposite this city, under or near a large apple tree, on the farm of the late Colonel Coles; and at a very early age, by succession, became the chief of the tribe, his mother being chieftainess at the time of his birth. His situation soon brought him in contact with the whites, and he was in several engagements, the most important of which was the celebrated slaughter on the St. Joseph River, one mile north of this city, designated as "Harmar's Defeat," where several hundred whites, under General Harmar, were cut off in attempting to ford the river, by the Indians, who lay in ambush on the opposite shore, by firing upon the whites when in the act of crossing; which slaughter crimsoned the river a number of days for several miles below with the blood of the unfortunate victims.

The Chief is universally spoken of as having been kind and humane to prisoners—far more so than most of his race; and as soon as peace was restored, became a worthy citizen, and enjoyed the confidence of the whites to the fullest extent. He spoke good French and English, as well as his native tongue; and for many years his house, which is pleasantly situated on the banks of the St. Mary's, and which was always open for the reception of friends—was a place of resort for parties of pleasure, who always partook of the hospitality of his house.

The old man was strictly honest, but remarkably watchful of his interest, and amassed a fortune exceeding probably a million of dollars, consisting of nearly $200,000 in specie on hand, and the balance in the most valuable kind of real estate, which he has distributed by "will" among his numerous relations with "even-handed justice." He had always expressed a great anxiety to live, but when he became conscious that the time of his departure was near at hand, he resigned himself with perfect composure, saying that it was ordered that all must die, and he was then ready and willing to answer the call of the "Great Spirit." His remains were deposited in the Catholic burying-ground with religious ceremonies.—Fort Wayne (Ind.) Sentinel.

[Pg 175]



At the time that the Ottowas inhabited the Manatoline Islands, in Lake Huron, there was a famous magician living amongst them whose name was Masswäwëinini, or the Living Statue. It happened, by the fortune of war, that the Ottowa tribe were driven off that chain of islands by the Iroquois, and obliged to flee away to the country lying between Lake Superior and the Upper Mississippi, to the banks of a lake which is still called, by the French, and in memory of this migration, Lac Courtorielle, or the lake of the Cut-ears, a term which is their nom de guerre for this tribe. But the magician Masswäwëinini remained behind on the wide-stretching and picturesque Manatoulins, a group of islands which had been deemed, from the earliest times, a favorite residence of the manitoes or spirits. His object was to act as a sentinel to his countrymen, and keep a close watch on their enemies, the Iroquois, that he might give timely information of their movements. He had with him two boys; with their aid he paddled stealthily around the shores, kept himself secreted in nooks and bays, and hauled up his canoe every night, into thick woods, and carefully obliterated his tracks upon the sand.

One day he rose very early, and started on a hunting excursion, leaving the boys asleep, and limiting himself to the thick woods, lest he should be discovered. At length he came unexpectedly to the borders of an extensive open plain. After gazing around him, and seeing no one, he directed his steps across it, intending to strike the opposite side of it; while travelling, he discovered a man of small stature, who appeared suddenly on the plain before him, and advanced to meet him. He wore a red feather on his head, and coming up with a familiar air, accosted Masswäwëinini by name, and said gaily, "Where are you going?" He then took out his smoking apparatus, and invited him to smoke. "Pray," said he, while thus engaged, "wherein does your strength lie." "My strength," answered Masswäwëinini, "is similar to the human race, and common to the strength given to them, and no stronger." "We must wrestle," said the man of the red feather. "If you should make me fall, you will say to me, I have thrown you, Wa ge me na."

As soon as they had finished smoking and put up their pipe, the wrestling began. For a long time the strife was doubtful. The strength of[Pg 176] Masswäwëinini was every moment growing fainter. The man of the red feather, though small of stature, proved himself very active, but at length he was foiled and thrown to the ground. Immediately his adversary cried out, "I have thrown you: wa ge me na;" and in an instant his antagonist had vanished. On looking to the spot where he had fallen, he discovered a crooked ear of mondamin, or Indian corn, lying on the ground, with the usual red hairy tassel at the top. While he was gazing at this strange sight, and wondering what it could mean, a voice addressed him from the ground. "Now," said the speaking ear, for the voice came from it, "divest me of my covering—leave nothing to hide my body from your eyes. You must then separate me into parts, pulling off my body from the spine upon which I grow. Throw me into different parts of the plain. Then break my spine and scatter it in small pieces near the edge of the woods, and return to visit the place, after one moon."

Masswäwëinini obeyed these directions, and immediately set out on his return to his lodge. On the way he killed a deer, and on reaching his canoe, he found the boys still asleep. He awoke them and told them to cook his venison, but he carefully concealed from them his adventure. At the expiration of the moon he again, alone, visited his wrestling ground, and to his surprise, found the plain filled with the spikes and blades of new grown corn. In the place where he had thrown the pieces of cob, he found pumpkin vines growing in great luxuriance. He concealed this discovery also, carefully from the young lads, and after his return busied himself as usual, in watching the movements of his enemies along the coasts of the island. This he continued, till summer drew near its close. He then directed his canoe to the coast of that part of the island where he had wrestled with the Red Plume, drew up his canoe, bid the lads stay by it, and again visited his wrestling ground. He found the corn in full ear, and pumpkins of an immense size. He plucked ears of corn, and gathered some of the pumpkins, when a voice again addressed him from the cornfield. "Masswäwëinini, you have conquered me. Had you not done so, your existence would have been forfeited. Victory has crowned your strength, and from henceforth you shall never be in want of my body. It will be nourishment for the human race." Thus his ancestors received the gift of corn.

Masswäwëinini now returned to his canoe, and informed the young men of his discovery, and showed them specimens. They were astonished and delighted with the novelty.

There were, in those days, many wonderful things done on these islands. One night, while Masswäwëinini was lying down, he heard voices speaking, but he still kept his head covered, as if he had not heard them. One voice said, "This is Masswäwëinini, and we must get his heart." "In what way can we get it?" said another voice. "You[Pg 177] must put your hand in his mouth," replied the first voice, "and draw it out that way." Masswäwëinini still kept quiet, and did not stir. He soon felt the hand of a person thrust in his mouth. When sufficiently far in, he bit off the fingers, and thus escaped the danger. The voices then retired, and he was no further molested. On examining the fingers in the morning, what was his surprise to find them long wampum beads, which are held in such high estimation by all the Indian tribes. He had slept, as was his custom, in the thick woods. On going out to the open shore, at a very early hour, he saw a canoe at a small distance, temporarily drawn up on the beach; on coming closer, he found a man in the bows and another in the stern, with their arms and hands extended in a fixed position. One of them had lost its fingers: it was evidently the man who had attempted to thrust his arm down his throat. They were two Pukwudjininees, or fairies. But on looking closer, they were found to be transformed into statues of stone. He took these stone images on shore, and set them up in the woods.

Their canoe was one of the most beautiful structures which it is possible to imagine, four fathoms in length, and filled with bags of treasures of every description and of the most exquisite workmanship. These bags were of different weight, according to their contents. He busied himself in quickly carrying them into the woods, together with the canoe, which he concealed in a cave. One of the fairy images then spoke to him and said: "In this manner, the Ottowa canoes will hereafter be loaded, when they pass along this coast, although your nation are driven away by their cruel enemies the Iroquois." The day now began to dawn fully, when he returned to his two young companions, who were still asleep. He awoke them, and exultingly bid them cook, for he had brought abundance of meat and fish, and other viands, the gifts of the fairies.

After this display of good fortune, he bethought him of his aged father and mother, who were in exile at the Ottowa lake. To wish, and to accomplish his wish, were but the work of an instant with Masswäwëinini.

One night as he lay awake, reflecting on their condition, far away from their native fields, and in exile, he resolved to visit them, and bring them back to behold and to participate in his abundance. To a common traveller, it would be a journey of twenty or thirty days, but Masswäwëinini was at their lodge before daylight. He found them asleep, and took them up softly in his arms and flew away with them through the air, and brought them to his camp on the Manatolines, or Spirit's Islands. When they awoke, their astonishment was at its highest pitch; and was only equalled by their delight in finding themselves in their son's lodge, in their native country, and surrounded with abundance.

[Pg 178]Masswäwëinini went and built them a lodge, near the corn and wrestling plain. He then plucked some ears of the corn, and taking some of the pumpkins, brought them to his father and mother. He then told them how he had obtained the precious gift, by wrestling with a spirit in red plumes, and that there was a great abundance of it in his fields. He also told them of the precious canoe of the fairies, loaded with sacks of the most costly and valuable articles. But one thing seemed necessary to complete the happiness of his father, which he observed by seeing him repeatedly at night looking into his smoking pouch. He comprehended his meaning in a moment. "It is tobacco, my father, that you want. You shall also have this comfort in two days." "But where," replied the old man, "can you get it—away from all supplies, and surrounded by your enemies?" "My enemies," he answered, "shall supply it—I will go over to the Nadowas of the Bear totem, living at Penetanguishine."

The old man endeavored to dissuade him from the journey, knowing their blood-thirsty character, but in vain. Masswäwëinini determined immediately to go. It was now winter weather, the lake was frozen over, but he set out on the ice, and although it is forty leagues, he reached Penetanguishine the same evening. The Nadowas discerned him coming—they were amazed at the swiftness of his motions, and thinking him somewhat supernatural, feared him, and invited him to rest in their lodges, but he thanked them, saying that he preferred making a fire near the shore. In the evening they visited him, and were anxious to know the object of his journey, at so inclement a season. He said it was merely to get some tobacco for his father. They immediately made a contribution of the article and gave it to him. During the night they however laid a plot to kill him. Some of the old men rushed into his lodge, their leader crying out to him, "You are a dead man." "No, I am not," said Masswäwëinini, "but you are," accompanying his words with a blow of his tomahawk, which laid the Nadowa dead at his feet. Another and another came, to supply the place of their fallen comrade, but he despatched them in like manner, as quickly as they came, until he had killed six. He then took all the tobacco from their smoking pouches. By this time, the day began to dawn, when he set out for his father's lodge, which he reached with incredible speed, and before twilight, spread out his trophies before the old man.

When spring returned, his cornfield grew up, without planting, or any care on his part, and thus the maize was introduced among his people and their descendants, who have ever been noted, and are at this day, for their fine crops of this grain, and their industry in its cultivation. It is from their custom of trading in this article, that this tribe are called Ottowas.

[Pg 179]


The zea, mais, originally furnished the principal article of subsistence among all the tribes of this race, north and south. It laid at the foundation of the Mexican and Peruvian types of civilization, as well as the incipient gleamings of it, among the more warlike tribes of the Iroquois, Natchez, Lenapees, and others, of northern latitudes. They esteem it so important and divine a grain, that their story-tellers invented various tales, in which this idea is symbolized under the form of a special gift from the Great Spirit. The Odjibwa-Algonquins, who call it Mon-dá-min, that is, the Spirit's grain or berry, have a pretty story of this kind, in which the stalk in full tassel, is represented as descending from the sky, under the guise of a handsome youth, in answer to the prayers of a young man at his fast of virility, or coming to manhood.

It is well known that corn-planting, and corn-gathering, at least among all the still uncolonized tribes, are left entirely to the females and children, and a few superannuated old men. It is not generally known, perhaps, that this labour is not compulsory, and that it is assumed by the females as a just equivalent, in their view, for the onerous and continuous labour of the other sex, in providing meats, and skins for clothing, by the chase, and in defending their villages against their enemies, and keeping intruders off their territories. A good Indian housewife deems this a part of her prerogative, and prides herself to have a store of corn to exercise her hospitality, or duly honour her husband's hospitality, in the entertainment of the lodge guests.

The area of ground planted is not, comparatively, large. This matter is essentially regulated by the number of the family, and other circumstances. Spring is a leisure season with them, and by its genial and reviving influence, invites to labour. An Indian female has no cows to milk, no flax to spin, no yarn to reel. Even those labours, which, at other seasons fall to her share, are now intermitted. She has apukwas to gather to make mats. Sugar-making has ended. She has no skins to dress, for the hunt has ended, the animals being out of season. It is at this time that the pelt grows bad, the hair becomes loose and falls off, and nature itself teaches the hunter, that the species must have repose, and be allowed a little time to replenish. Under these circumstances the mistress[Pg 180] of the lodge and her train, sally out of the lodge into the corn-field, and with the light pemidge-ag akwut, or small hoe, open up the soft ground and deposit their treasured mondamin.

The Indian is emphatically a superstitious being, believing in all sorts of magical, and secret, and wonderful influences. Woman, herself, comes in for no small share of these supposed influences. I shrewdly suspect that one half of the credit we have been in the habit of giving the warrior, on the score of virtue, in his treatment of captives, is due alone to his superstitions. He is afraid, at all times, to spoil his luck, cross his fate, and do some untoward act, by which he might, perchance, fall under a bad spiritual influence.

To the wéwun, or wife—the equá, or woman, to the guh or mother,—to the equázas, or girl, and to the dánis, or daughter, and shéma, or sister, he looks, as wielding, in their several capacities, whether kindred or not, these mystic influences over his luck. In consequence of this, the female never walks in the path before him. It is an unpropitious sign. If she cross his track, when he is about to set out on a hunting, or war excursion, his luck is gone. If she is ill, from natural causes, she cannot even stay in the same wigwam. She cannot use a cup or a bowl without rendering it, in his view, unclean.

A singular proof of this belief, in both sexes, of the mysterious influence of the steps of a woman on the vegetable and insect creation, is found in an ancient custom, which was related to me, respecting corn-planting. It was the practice of the hunter's wife, when the field of corn had been planted, to choose the first dark or overclouded evening, to perform a secret circuit, sans habilement, around the field. For this purpose she slipt out of the lodge in the evening, unobserved, to some obscure nook, where she completely disrobed. Then taking her matchecota, or principal garment in one hand, she dragged it around the field. This was thought to ensure a prolific crop, and to prevent the assaults of insects and worms upon the grain. It was supposed they could not creep over the charmed line.

But if corn-planting be done in a lively and satisfied, and not a slavish spirit, corn-gathering and husking is a season of decided thankfulness and merriment. At these gatherings, the chiefs and old men are mere spectators, although they are pleased spectators, the young only sharing in the sport. Who has not seen, the sedate ogema in such a vicinage, smoking a dignified pipe with senatorial ease. On the other hand, turning to the group of nature's red daughters and their young cohorts, it may be safely affirmed that laughter and garrulity constitute no part of the characteristics of civilization. Whatever else custom has bound fast, in the domestic female circle of forest life, the tongue is left loose. Nor does it require, our observation leads us to think, one tenth part of the wit or drollery of ancient Athens, to set their risible faculties in motion.

[Pg 181]If one of the young female huskers finds a red ear of corn, it is typical of a brave admirer, and is regarded as a fitting present to some young warrior. But if the ear be crooked, and tapering to a point, no matter what colour, the whole circle is set in a roar, and wa ge min is the word shouted aloud. It is the symbol of a thief in the cornfield. It is considered as the image of an old man stooping as he enters the lot. Had the chisel of Praxitiles been employed to produce this image, it could not more vividly bring to the minds of the merry group, the idea of a pilferer of their favourite mondámin. Nor is there any doubt on these occasions, that the occurrence truly reveals the fact that the cornfield has actually been thus depredated on.

The term wagemin, which unfolds all these ideas, and reveals, as by a talisman, all this information, is derived in part, from the tri-literal term Waweau, that which is bent or crooked. The termination in g, is the animate plural, and denotes not only that there is more than one object, but that the subject is noble or invested with the importance of animated beings. The last member of the compound, min, is a shortened sound of the generic meen, a grain, or berry. To make these coalesce, agreeably to the native laws of euphony, the short vowel i, is thrown in, between the verbal root and substantive, as a connective. The literal meaning of the term is, a mass, or crooked ear of grain; but the ear of corn so called, is a conventional type of a little old man pilfering ears of corn in a cornfield. It is in this manner, that a single word or term, in these curious languages, becomes the fruitful parent of many ideas. And we can thus perceive why it is that the word wagemin is alone competent to excite merriment in the husking circle.

This term is taken as the basis of the cereal chorus or corn song, as sung by the northern Algonquin tribes. It is coupled with the phrase Paimosaid,—a permutative form of the Indian substantive made from the verb, pim-o-sa, to walk. Its literal meaning is, he who walks, or the walker; but the ideas conveyed by it, are, he who walks at night to pilfer corn. It offers, therefore, a kind of parallelism in expression, to the preceding term. The chorus is entirely composed of these two terms, variously repeated, and may be set down as follows:


[Pg 182]When this chant has been sung, there is a pause, during which someone who is expert in these things, and has a turn for the comic or ironic, utters a short speech, in the manner of a recitative, in which a peculiar intonation is given, and generally interrogates the supposed pilferer, as if he were present to answer questions, or accusations. There can be no pretence, that this recitative part of the song is always the same, at different times and places, or even that the same person should not vary his phraseology. On the contrary, it is often an object to vary it. It is a perfect improvisation, and it may be supposed that the native composer is always actuated by a desire to please, as much as possible by novelty. The whole object indeed is, to keep up the existing merriment, and excite fun and laughter.

The following may be taken as one of these recitative songs, written out, on the plan of preserving the train of thought, and some of those peculiar interjections in which these languages so much abound. The chorus alone, it is to be observed, is fixed in its words and metre, however transposed or repeated, and, unlike an English song, precedes the stanza or narrative.


Cereal chorus. Wagemin! wagemin!
Thief in the blade,
Blight of the cornfield
Recitative.See you not traces, while pulling the leaf,
See you not traces, while pulling the leaf,
Plainly depicting the TAKER and thief?
See you not signs by the ring and the spot,
How the man crouched as he crept in the lot?
Is it not plain by this mark on the stalk,
That he was heavily bent in his walk?
Old man be nimble! the old should be good,
But thou art a cowardly thief of the wood.
Cereal Chorus. Wagemin! wagemin!
Thief in the blade,
Blight of the cornfield
Recitative. Where, little taker of things not your own—
Where is your rattle, your drum, and your bone?
Surely a Walker so nimble of speed,
Surely he must be a Meta [13] indeed.
[Pg 183]See how he stoops, as he breaks off the ear,
Nushka! [14] he seems for a moment in fear;
Walker, be nimble—oh! walker be brief,
Hooh![15] If it is plain the old man is the thief.
Cereal Chorus.Wagemin! wagemin!
Thief in the blade,
Blight of the cornfield
Recitative. Wabuma![16] corn-taker, why do you lag?
None but the stars see you—fill up your bag!
Why do you linger to gaze as you pull,
Tell me, my little man, is it most full?
A-tia![17] see, a red spot on the leaf,
Surely a warrior cannot be a thief!
Ah, little night-thief, be deer your pursuit,
And leave here no print of your dastardly foot.

[13] A Juggler.

[14] A sharp exclamation quickly to behold something striking.

[15] A derogatory exclamation.

[16] Behold thou.

[17] A masculine exclamation, to express surprise.


Health! dearest of the heavenly powers,
With thee to pass my evening hours,
Ah! deign to hear my prayer;
For what can wealth or beauty give,
If still in anguish doomed to live
A slave to pain and care.
Not sovereign power, nor charms of love,
Nor social joys the heart can move,
If thou refuse thy aid;
E'en friendship, sympathy divine!
Does, in thy absence, faintly shine,
Thou all-inspiring maid.
Return then, to my longing soul,
Which sighs to feel thy sweet control
Transfused through every pore;
My muse, enraptured, then shall sing
Thee—gift of heaven's all bounteous king,
And gratefully adore.

February 4, 1807.[Pg 184]


The Indian, who takes his position as an orator, in front of his people, and before a mixed assemblage of white men, is to be regarded, in a measure, as an actor, who has assumed a part to perform. He regards himself as occupying a position in which all eyes are directed upon him, in scrutiny, and he fortifies himself for the occasion, by redoubled efforts in cautiousness and studied stoicism. Rigid of muscle, and suspicious of mind by nature, he brings to his aid the advantages of practised art, to bear him out in speaking for his tribe, and to quit him manfully of his task by uttering sentiments worthy of them and of himself. This is the statue-like and artistic phasis of the man. It is here that he is, truly

"A man without a fear—a stoic of the wood."

All this is laid aside, so far as it is assumed, when he returns from the presence of the "pale-faces," and rejoins his friends and kindred, in his own village, far away from all public gaze, in the deep recesses of the forest. Let us follow the man to this retreat, and see what are his domestic manners, habits, amusements, and opinions.

I have myself visited an Indian camp, in the far-off area of the North-west, in the dead of winter, under circumstances suited to allay his suspicions, and inspire confidence, and have been struck with the marked change there is in his social temper, character, and feelings. And I have received the same testimony from Indian traders, who have spent years among them in these secluded positions, and been received by them as friends and kindred. All indeed, who have had frequent and full opportunities of witnessing the red man on his hunting grounds, concur in bearing evidence to his social, hospitable, and friendly habits and manners. Viewed in such positions, the most perfect sincerity and cheerfulness prevail; and their intercourse is marked with the broadest principles of charity and neighborly feeling. The restraint and ever watchful suspicion which they evince at the frontier post, or in other situations exposed to the scrutiny and cupidity of white men, is thrown aside and gives way to ease, sociability and pleasantry. They feel while thus ensconced in the shades of their native forests, a security unknown to their breasts in any other situations. The strife seems to be, who shall excel in offices of friendship and charity, or in spreading the festive board. If one is more fortunate than the other, in taking meat, or wielding the arrow or spear, the spoil is set apart for a feast, to which[Pg 185] all the adults, without distinction, are invited. When the set time of the feast arrives, each one, according to ancient custom, takes his dish and spoon, and proceeds to the entertainer's lodge. The victuals are served up with scrupulous attention that each receives a portion of the best parts. While at the meal, which is prolonged by cheerful conversation, anecdote, and little narrations of personal adventure, the females are generally listeners; and none, except the aged, ever obtrude a remark. The young women and girls show that they partake in the festivity by smiles, and are scrupulous to evince their attention to the elder part of the company. Conversation is chiefly engrossed by the old men and chiefs, and middle-aged men. Young men, who are desirous to acquire a standing, seldom offer a remark, and when they do, it is with modesty. The topics discussed at these public meals relate generally to the chace, to the news they have heard, or to personal occurrences about the village; or to deeds, "real or fabulous," of "old lang syne;" but the matters are discussed in a lively, and not in a grave style. Business, if we may be allowed that term for what concerns their trade and government intercourse, is never introduced except in formal councils, convened specially; and opened formally by smoking the pipe. It seems to be the drift of conversation, in these sober festivities (for it must be recollected that we are speaking of the Indians on their wintering grounds and beyond the reach, certainly beyond the free or ordinary use of ardent spirits), to extract from their hunts and adventures, whatever will admit of a pleasant turn, draw forth a joke, or excite a laugh. Ridiculous misadventures, or comical situations, are sure to be applauded in the recital. Whatever is anti-social, or untoward, is passed over, or if referred to by another, is parried off, by some allusion to the scene before them.

Religion (we use this term for what concerns the great spirit, sacred dreams, and the ceremonies of the Meda or medicine dance), like business, is reserved for its proper occasion. It does not form, as with us, a free topic of remark, at least among those who are professors of the dance. Thus they cheat away the hours in pleasantry, free, but not tumultuous in their mirth, but as ardently bent on the enjoyment of the present moment, as if the sum of life were contained in these three words, "eat, drink, and be merry." When the feast is over, the women return to their lodges, and leave the men to smoke. On their return, they commence a conversation on what they have heard the men advance, and thus amuse themselves till their husbands return. The end of all is generally some good advice to the children.

The company in these ordinary feasts is as general, with respect to the rank, age or standing of the guests, as the most unlimited equality of rights can make it. All the aged and many of the young are invited. There is, however, another feast instituted, at certain times[Pg 186] during the season, to which young persons only are invited, or admitted, except the entertainer and his wife, and generally two other aged persons, who preside over the feast and administer its rites. The object of this feast seems to be instruction, to which the young and thoughtless are induced to listen for the anticipated pleasure of the feast. Before this feast commences, the entertainer, or some person fluent in speech, whom he has selected for the purpose, gets up and addresses the youth of both sexes on the subject of their course through life. He admonishes them to be attentive and respectful to the aged and to adhere to their counsels: never to scoff at the decrepit, deformed, or blind: to obey their parents: to be modest in their conduct: to be charitable and hospitable: to fear and love the great Spirit, who is the giver of life and every good gift. These precepts are dwelt upon at great length, and generally enforced by examples of a good man and woman and a bad man and woman, and after drawing the latter, it is ever the custom to say, "you will be like one of these." At the end of every sentence, the listeners make a general cry of haá. When the advice is finished, an address, or kind of prayer to the great Spirit is made, in which he is thanked for the food before them, and for the continuance of life. The speaker then says, "Thus the great Spirit supplies us with food; act justly, and conduct well, and you will ever be thus bountifully supplied." The feast then commences, and the elders relax their manner and mix with the rest, but are still careful to preserve order, and a decent, respectful behavior among the guests.

Let it not be supposed, however, that the Indian's life, while on his wintering grounds, is a round of feasting. Quite the contrary; and his feasts are often followed by long and painful fasts, and the severity of the seasons, and scarcity of game and fish, often reduce himself and family to the verge of starvation, and even death. When the failure of game, or any other causes, induce the hunter to remove to a new circle of country, the labor of the removal falls upon the female part of the family. The lodge, utensils and fixtures of every kind, are borne upon the women's backs, sustained by a strap of leather around the forehead. On reaching the intended place of encampment, the snow is cleared away, cedar branches brought and spread for a flooring, the lodge set up, the moveables stowed away, wood collected, and a fire built, and then, and not until then, can the females sit down and warm their feet and dry their moccasins. If there be any provisions, a supper is cooked. If there be none, all studiously strive to conceal the exhibition of the least concern on this account, and seek to divert their thoughts by conversation quite foreign to the subject. The little children are the only part of the family who complain, and who are privileged to complain, but even they are taught at an early age to suffer and be silent. Generally, something is reserved by the mother, when food becomes scarce,[Pg 187] to satisfy their clamors, and they are satisfied with little. On such occasions, if the family have gone supperless to rest, the father and elder sons rise early in the morning in search of something. If one has the luck to kill even a partridge or a squirrel, it is immediately carried to the lodge, cooked, and divided into as many parts as there are members of the family. On these occasions, the elder ones often make a merit of relinquishing their portions to the women and children. If nothing rewards the search, the whole day is spent by the father upon his snow-shoes, with his gun in his hands, and he returns at night, fatigued, to his couch of cedar branches and rush mats. But he does not return to complain, either of his want of success, or his fatigue. On the following day the same routine is observed, and days and weeks are often thus consumed without being rewarded with anything capable of sustaining life. Instances have been well authenticated, when this state of wretchedness has been endured by the head of a family until he has become so weak as to fall in his path, and freeze to death. When all other means of sustaining life are gone, the skins he has collected to pay his credits, or purchase new supplies of clothing or ammunition, are eaten. They are prepared by removing the pelt, and roasting the skin until it acquires a certain degree of crispness. Under all their sufferings, the pipe of the hunter is his chief solace, and is a solace often resorted to. Smoking parties are frequently formed, when there is a scarcity of food not tending, as might be supposed, to destroy social feeling and render the temper sour. On these occasions the entertainer sends a message to this effect: "Come and smoke with me. I have no food; but we can pass away the evening very well without it." All acknowledge their lives to be in the hand of the great Spirit; feel a conviction that all comes from him, and that although he allows them to suffer, he will again supply them. This tends to quiet their apprehensions; they are fatalists, however, under long reverses, and submit patiently and silently to what they believe to be their destiny. When hunger and misery are past, they are soon forgotten, and their minds are too eagerly intent on the enjoyment of the present good, to feel any depression of spirits from the recollection of the past, or to hoard up anything to provide against want for the future. No people are more easy, or less clamorous under sufferings of the deepest dye, and none more happy, or more prone to evince their happiness, when prosperous in their affairs.

October 29th, 1826.

[Pg 188]




This is the principal game of hazard among the northern tribes. It is played with thirteen pieces, hustled in a vessel called onágun, which is a kind of wooden bowl. They are represented, and named, as follows.


The pieces marked No. 1, in this cut, of which, there are two, are called Ininewug, or men. They are made tapering, or wedge-shaped in thickness, so as to make it possible, in throwing them, that they may stand on their base. Number 2, is called Gitshee Kenabik, or the Great Serpent. It consists of two pieces, one of which is fin-tailed, or a water-serpent, the[Pg 189] other truncated, and is probably designed as terrestrial. They are formed wedge-shaped, so as to be capable of standing on their bases length-wise. Each has four dots. Number 3, is called Pugamágun, or the war club. It has six marks on the handle, on the red side, and four radiating from the orifice of the club end; and four marks on the handle of the white side; and six radiating marks from the orifice on the club-end, making ten on each side. Number 4 is called Keego, which is the generic name for a fish. The four circular pieces of brass, slightly concave, with a flat surface on the apex, are called Ozawábiks. The three bird-shaped pieces, Sheshebwug, or ducks.

All but the circular pieces are made out of a fine kind of bone. One side of the piece is white, of the natural colour of the bones, and polished, the other red. The brass pieces have the convex side bright, the concave black. They are all shaken together, and thrown out of the onágun, as dice. The term pugasaing denotes this act of throwing. It is the participial form of the verb.—The following rules govern the game:

1. When the pieces are turned on the red side, and one of the Ininewugs stands upright on the bright side of one of the brass pieces, it counts 158.

2. When all the pieces turn red side up, and the Gitshee Kenabik with the tail stands on the bright side of the brass piece, it counts 138.

3. When all turn up red, it counts 58 whether the brass pieces be bright or black side up.

4. When the Gitshee Kenabik and his associate, and the two Ininewugs turn up white side, and the other pieces red, it counts 58, irrespective of the concave or convex position of the brass pieces.

5. When all the pieces turn up white, it counts 38, whether the Ozawábiks, be bright or black.

6. When the Gitshee Kenabik and his associate turn up red, and the other white, it counts 38, the brass pieces immaterial.

7. When one of the Ininewugs stands up, it counts 50, without regard to the position of all the rest.

8. When either of the Gitshee Kenabiks stands upright, it counts 40, irrespective of the position of the others.

9. When all the pieces turn up white, excepting one, and the Ozawábiks dark, it counts 20.

10. When all turn up red, except one, and the brass pieces bright, it counts 15.

11. When the whole of the pieces turn up white, but one, with the Ozawábiks bright, it counts 10.

12. When a brass piece turns up dark, the two Gitshee Kenabiks and the two men red, and the remaining pieces white, it counts 8.

13. When the brass piece turns up bright, the two Gitshee Kenabiks and one of the men red, and all the rest white, it is 6.

[Pg 190]14. When the Gitshee Kenabik in chief, and one of the men turn up red, the Ozawábiks, bright, and all the others white, it is 4.

15. When both the Kenabiks, and both men, and the three ducks, turn up red, the brass piece black, and either the Keego, or a duck white, it is 5.

16. When all the pieces turn up red, but one of the Ininewugs, and the brass piece black, it counts 2.

The limit of the game is stipulated. The parties throw up for the play.

This game is very fascinating to some portions of the Indians. They stake at it their ornaments, weapons, clothing, canoes, horses, every thing in fact they possess; and have been known, it is said, to set up their wives and children, and even to forfeit their own liberty. Of such desperate stakes, I have seen no examples, nor do I think the game itself in common use. It is rather confined to certain persons, who hold the relative rank of gamblers in Indian society—men who are not noted as hunters or warriors, or steady providers for their families. Among these are persons who bear the term of Ienadizze-wug, that is, wanderers about the country, braggadocios, or fops. It can hardly be classed with the popular games of amusement, by which skill and dexterity are acquired. I have generally found the chiefs and graver men of the tribes, who encouraged the young men to play ball, and are sure to be present at the customary sports, to witness, and sanction, and applaud them, speak, lightly and disparagingly of this game of hazard. Yet, it cannot be denied, that some of the chiefs, distinguished in war and the chase, at the west, can be referred to, as lending their example to its fascinating power.

An analysis of this game, to show its arithmetical principles and powers might be gone into; but it is no part of the present design to take up such considerations here, far less to pursue the comparison and extension of customs of this kind among the modern western tribes. It may be sufficient to say, from the foregoing rules, that there seems to be no unit in the throw, and that the count proceeds by decimals, for all numbers over 8. Doubtless these rules, are but a part of the whole series, known to experienced players. They comprise, however, all that have been revealed to me.

"Gambling is not peculiar to our race,
The Indian gambles with as fixed a face."

Herodotus says of the ancient Thracians—that "the most honourable life, with them, is a life of war and plunder; the most contemptible that of a husbandman. Their supreme delight is war and plunder." Who might not suppose, were the name withheld, that this had been said by some modern writer of the Pawnees, or the Camanches?

[Pg 191]


There lived a noted chief at Michilimackinac, in days past, called Gitshe Naygow, or the Great-Sand-Dune, a name, or rather nick-name, which he had, probably, derived from his birth and early residence at a spot of very imposing appearance, so called, on the southern shore of Lake Superior, which is east of the range of the Pictured Rocks. He was a Chippewa, a warrior and a counsellor, of that tribe, and had mingled freely in the stirring scenes of war and border foray, which marked the closing years of French domination in the Canadas. He lived to be very old, and became so feeble at last, that he could not travel by land, when Spring came on and his people prepared to move their lodges, from their sugar-camp in the forest, to the open lake shore. They were then inland, on the waters of the Manistee river, a stream which enters the northern shores of Lake Michigan. It was his last winter on earth; his heart was gladdened by once more feeling the genial rays of Spring, and he desired to go with them, to behold, for the last time, the expanded lake and inhale its pure breezes. He must needs be conveyed by hand. This act of piety was performed by his daughter, then a young woman. She carried him on her back from their camp to the lake shore, where they erected their lodge and passed their spring, and where he eventually died and was buried.

This relation I had from her own lips, at the agency of Michilimackinac, in 1833. I asked her how she had carried him. She replied, with the Indian apekun, or head-strap. When tired she rested, and again pursued her way, on-wa-be-win by on-wa-be-win, or rest by rest, in the manner practised in carrying heavy packages over the portages. Her name was Nadowákwa, or the female Iroquois. She was then, perhaps, about fifty-five years of age, and the wife of a chief called Saganosh, whose home and jurisdiction were in the group of the St. Martin's Islands, north of Michilimackinac.

The incident was not voluntarily told, but came out, incidentally, in some inquiries I was making respecting historical events, in the vicinity. One such incident goes far to vindicate the affections of this people, and should teach us, that they are of the same general lineage with ourselves, and only require letters and Christianity, to exalt them in the scale of being.

The first words of men, says Harris in his Hermes, like their first ideas, had an immediate reference to sensible objects; in after days, when they began to discern with their intellect, they took those words which they found already made, and transferred them by metaphor, to intellectual conceptions.

[Pg 192]


Many persons among the Indian race, have attracted notice from their exploits on the war-path. Andaig Weos was not among the number of these, or if he had mingled in such events, his deeds of daring are now lost amid the remembrance of better qualities. He was a chief of the once prominent and reigning band of Odjibwa Algonquins, who are called Chippewas, located at Chegoimgon, on Lake Superior, where his name is cherished in local tradition, for the noble and disinterested deeds which he performed in former days. He lived in the latter part of the 18th century.

It was perhaps forty years ago—said my informant, it was while the late Mr. Nolin, of Sault Ste. Maries was a trader in the Chippewa country, between lake Superior and the Mississippi, that he wintered one year low down on the Chippewa river. On his way down this stream, and while he was still on one of its sources, cold weather set in suddenly, the ice formed, and he was unable to get on with his goods. He consequently put them en cache, according to the custom of the country, and proceeded on foot, with his men to the lower part of the river, to the spot at which he had determined to winter. Here he felled trees, and built his house, and having made all things ready, he set out with his men on his return to his cache, in order to bring down his goods.

On the way he fell in with an Indian hunter and his wife, who followed him to the place where he had secreted his goods. On reaching this, he filled a bottle with spirits and gave a glass to each of his men, took one himself, and then filling the glass presented it to the Indian. This was done after the camp had been made for the night. It so happened that the Indian was taken suddenly ill that night, and before day light died. Nolin and his men buried him, and then proceeded back to his wintering house below, each man carrying a pack of goods; and the widow rejoined her friends.

After the Indians had taken their credits, and dispersed to their several wintering grounds, it was rumoured amongst them, that the trader had[Pg 193] administered poison to the Indian who died so suddenly after taking the glass of spirits. And this opinion gained ground, although the widow woman repeatedly told the Indians, that the liquor given to her deceased husband was from the same bottle and glass, that all the French people had drank from. But it was of no avail; the rumour grew, and Mr. Nolin began to be apprehensive, as he had already learnt that the Indians meant to kill him. To confirm this suspicion a party of forty men, soon after, entered his house, all armed, painted black, and with war dresses on. They were all presented with a piece of tobacco, as was customary, when each of them threw it into the fire. No alternative now appeared to remain to avert the blow, which he was convinced must soon follow. Almost at the same instant, his men intimated that another party, of six men more, were arriving.

It proved to be the chief Andaig Weos, from near Lac du Flambeau, in search of a trader, for a supply of tobacco and ammunition. On entering, the chief eyed the warriors, and asked Mr. N. whether he had given them tobacco. He replied that he had, and that they had all, to a man, thrown it in the fire, and, he added, that they intended to kill him. The chief asked for some tobacco, which he threw down before the warriors, telling them to smoke it, adding in an authoritative voice, that when Indians visited traders, it was with an intention of getting tobacco from them to smoke and not to throw into the fire; and that, for his part, he had been a long time without smoking, and was very happy to find a trader to supply him with that article. This present from him, with the rebuke, was received with silent acquiescence,—no one venturing a reply.

The chief next demanded liquor of the trader, saying, "that he intended to make them drink." The politic Frenchman remonstrated, saying, "that if this was done, he should surely be killed." "Fear not, Frenchman," replied the chief, boldly. "These are not men who want to kill you: they are children. I, and my warriors will guard you." On these assurances, a keg of liquor was given, but with the greatest reluctance. The chief immediately presented it to the war-party, but cautioned them to drink it at a distance, and not to come nigh the trader during the night. They obeyed him. They took it a short distance and drank it, and kept up a dreadful yelling all night, but did not molest the house.

The next morning Andaig Weos demanded tobacco of the still uneasy marchand voyageur, and ordered one of his young men to distribute it to the Indians in the war-dress. He then rose and addressed them in an energetic and authoritative speech, telling them to march off, without tasting food; that they were warriors, and needed not any thing of the kind; and if they did, they were hunters,—they had guns, and might hunt, and kill and eat. "You get nothing more here," he added. "This trader has come here to supply your wants, and you seek to kill him—a poor reward for the trouble and the anxiety he has undergone! This is no way[Pg 194] of requiting white people." They all, to a man started, and went off, and gave the trader no farther molestation while he remained in the country.

On another occasion Andaig Weos was placed in a situation which afforded a very different species of testimony to his principles and integrity. A French trader had entered lake Superior so late in the season, that with every effort, he could get no farther than Pointe La Petite Fille, before the ice arrested his progress. Here he was obliged to build his wintering house, but he soon ran short of provisions, and was obliged to visit La Pointe, with his men, in order to obtain fish—leaving his house and storeroom locked, with his goods, ammunition, and liquors, and resolving to return immediately. But the weather came on so bad, that there was no possibility of his immediate return, and the winter proved so unfavourable that he was obliged to spend two months at that post.

During this time, the chief Andaig Weos, with fifteen of his men, came out from the interior, to the shores, of the lake, for the purpose of trading, each carrying a pack of beaver, or other furs. On arriving at the point La Petite Fille, they found the trader's house locked and no one there. The chief said to his followers.—It is customary for traders to invite Indians into their house, and to receive them politely; but as there is no one to receive us, we must act according to circumstances. He then ordered the door to be opened, with as little injury as possible, walked in, with his party, and caused a good fire to be built in the chimney. On opening the store-door he found they could be supplied with all they wanted. He told his party, on no account to touch, or take away any thing, but shut up the door, and said, "that he would, on the morrow, act the trader's part."

They spent the night in the house. Early the next morning, he arose and addressed them, telling them, that he would now commence trading with them. This he accordingly did, and when all was finished, he carefully packed the furs, and piled the packs, and covered them with an oilcloth. He then again addressed them, saying that it was customary for a trader to give tobacco and a keg of spirits, when Indians had traded handsomely. He, therefore, thought himself authorized to observe this rule, and accordingly gave a keg of spirits and some tobacco. "The spirits," he said, "must not be drank here. We must take it to our hunting camp," and gave orders for returning immediately. He then caused the doors to be shut, in the best manner possible, and the outer door to be barricaded with logs, and departed.

When the trader returned, and found his house had been broken open, he began to bewail his fate, being sure he had been robbed; but on entering his store room and beholding the furs, his fears were turned to joy. On examining his inventory, and comparing it with the amount of his furs, he declared, that had he been present, he could not have traded to better advantage, nor have made such a profit on his goods.

[Pg 195]These traits are not solitary and accidental. It happened at another time, that a Mr. Lamotte, who had wintered in the Folle-avoine country, unfortunately had a quarrel with the Indians, at the close of the season, just when he was about to embark on his return with his furs. In the heat of their passion the Indians broke all his canoes in pieces, and confined him a prisoner, by ordering him to encamp on an island in the St. Croix river.

In this situation he remained, closely watched by the Indians, till all the other traders had departed and gone out of the country to renew their supplies, when the chief Andaig Weos arrived. He comprehended the case in an instant, and having found that the matter of offence was one of no importance, he immediately went to the Indian village, and in a loud and authoritative tone of voice, so as to be heard by all, commanded suitable canoes to be taken to the imprisoned trader—a summons which was promptly obeyed. He then went to Mr. Lamotte and told him to embark fearlessly, and that he himself would see that he was not further hindered, at the same time lamenting the lateness of his return.

The general conduct of this chief was marked by kindness and urbanity. When traders arrived at Chagoimegon, where he lived, it was his custom to order his young men to cover and protect their baggage lest any thing should be injured or stolen. He was of the lineage of the noted war-chief, Abojeeg, or Wab Ojeeg. He lived to be very old, so that he walked nearly bent double—using a cane. The present ruling chief of that place, called Pezhickee, is his grandson. These anecdotes were related by Mr. Cadotte, of Lapointe, in the year 1829, and are believed to be entitled to full confidence.

The Tartars cannot pronounce the letter b. Those of Bulgaria pronounce the word blacks as if written ilacs. It is noticeable, that the Odjibwas and their cognate tribes at the north, not only make great use of the letter b, in native words, but when they come to pronounce English words, in which the letter v occurs, they invariably substitute the b for it, as in village, and vinegar.

There are three letters in the English alphabet which the above tribes do not pronounce. They are f, r, and l. For f, they substitute, in their attempts to pronounce foreign words, p. The sound of r, they change to broad a, or drop. L is changed to n.

Singing and dancing are applied to political and to religious purposes by the Indians. When they wish to raise a war-party, they meet to sing and dance: when they wish to supplicate the divine mercy on a sick person, they assemble in a lodge, to sing and dance. No grave act is performed without singing and dancing.

[Pg 196]





The following traditions of the creation of man, and of the Red Race; of the order of precedence and relationship among the tribes, and the notice of the first arrival of Europeans on the continent, together with the allegories of Good and Evil, and of Civilization and Barbarism, are extracted from a private journal, kept during the period of my official intercourse with the various tribes.

Superintendency Indian Affairs,
Detroit, January 30th, 1837.

A delegation of three Wyandot chiefs visited me, this day, from their location near Amherstburg in Canada, with their interpreter, George C. Martin. Their names were O-ri-wa-hen-to, or Charlo, On-ha-to-tun-youh, or Round Head, son of Round Head, the brother of Splitlog, and Ty-er-on-youh, or Thomas Clark. They informed me, in reply to a question, that the present population of their band, at that location, was eighty-six souls. After transacting their business, I proposed several questions to them respecting their origin and history.

1. What is the origin of the Indians? We believe that all men sprang from one man and woman, who were made by God, in parts beyond the sea. But in speaking of the Indians we say, how did they cross the sea without ships? and when did they come? and from what country? What is your opinion on the subject?

Oriwahento answered: "The old chief, Splitlog, who could answer you, is not able to come to see you from his age and feebleness; but he has sent us three to speak with you. We will do the best we can. We are not able to read and write, like white men, and what you ask is not therefore to be found in black and white." (This remark was probably made as they observed I took notes of the interview.)

"There was, in ancient times, something the matter with the earth. It has changed. We think so. We believe God created it, and made men out of it. We think he made the Indians in this country, and that they did not come over the sea. They were created at a place called Mountains.[Pg 197] It was eastward. When he had made the earth and those mountains, he covered something over the earth, as it were, with his hand. Below this, he put man. All the different tribes were there. One of the young men found his way out to the surface. He saw a great light, and was delighted with the beauty of the surface. While gazing around, he saw a deer running past, with an arrow in his side. He followed it, to the place where it fell and died. He thought it was a harmless looking animal. He looked back to see its tracks, and he soon saw other tracks. They were the foot prints of the person who had shot the deer. He soon came up. It was the creator himself. He had taken this method to show the Indians what they must do, when they came out from the earth. The creator showed him how to skin and dress the animal, bidding him do so and so, as he directed him. When the flesh was ready, he told him to make a fire. But he was perfectly ignorant. God made the fire. He then directed him to put a portion of the meat on a stick, and roast it before the fire. But he was so ignorant that he let it stand till it burned on one side, while the other was raw.

Having taught this man the hunter's art, so that he could teach it to others, God called the Indians forth out of the earth. They came in order, by tribes, and to each tribe he appointed a chief. He appointed one Head Chief to lead them all, who had something about his neck, and he instructed him, and put it into his head what to say to the tribes. That he might have an opportunity to do so, a certain animal was killed, and a feast made, in which they were told to eat it all. The leader God had so chosen, told the tribes what they must do, to please their maker, and what they must not do.

Oriwahento further said: God also made Good and Evil. They were brothers. The one went forth to do good, and caused pleasant things to grow. The other busied himself in thwarting his brother's work. He made stony and flinty places, and caused bad fruits, and made continual mischief among men. Good repaired the mischief as fast as it was done, but he found his labour never done. He determined to fly upon his brother and destroy him, but not by violence. He proposed to run a race with him. Evil consented, and they fixed upon the place. But first tell me, said Good, what is it you most dread. Bucks horns! replied he, and tell me what is most hurtful to you. Indian grass braid! said Good. Evil immediately went to his grandmother, who made braid, and got large quantities of it, which he put in the path and hung on the limbs that grew by the path where Good was to run. Good also filled the path of his brother with the dreaded horns. A question arose who should run first. I, said Good, will begin, since the proposition to try our skill first came from me. He accordingly set out, his brother following him. But as he began to feel exhausted at noon, he took up the grass braid and eat it. This sustained him, and he tired down his brother before night, who[Pg 198] entreated him to stop. He did not, however, cease, till he had successfully reached the goal.

The next day Evil started on his path. He was encountered every where by the horns, which before noon had greatly weakened him. He entreated to be relieved from going on. Good insisted on his running the course. He sustained himself 'till sunset, when he fell in the path, and was finally dispatched by one of the horns wielded by his brother.

Good now returned in triumph to his grandmother's lodge. But she was in an ill humour, as she always was, and hated him and loved his brother whom he had killed. He wanted to rest, but at night was awoke by a conversation between her and the ghost of Evil. The latter pleaded to come in, but although he felt for him, he did not allow his fraternal feelings to get the better, and resolutely denied admission. Then said Evil "I go to the north-west, and you will never see me more, and all who follow me will be in the same state. They will never come back. Death will for ever keep them."

Having thus rid himself of his adversary, he thought he would walk out and see how things were going on, since there was no one to oppose his doing good. After travelling some time he saw a living object a-head. As he drew nearer, he saw more plainly. It was a naked man. They began to talk to each other. "I am walking to see the creation, which I have made," said Good, "but who are you?" "Clothed man," said he, "I am as powerful as you, and have made all that land you see." "Naked man," he replied, "I have made all things, but do not recollect making you." "You shall see my power," said the naked man, "we will try strength. Call to yonder mountain to come here, and afterwards I will do the same, and we will see who has the greatest power." The clothed man fell down on his knees, and began to pray, but the effort did not succeed, or but partially. Then the naked man drew a rattle from his belt, and began to shake it and mutter, having first blindfolded the other. After a time, now said he, "look!" He did so, and the mountain stood close before him, and rose up to the clouds. He then blindfolded him again, and resumed his rattle and muttering. The mountain had resumed its former distant position.

The clothed man held in his left hand a sword, and in his right hand the law of God. The naked man had a rattle in one hand, and a war club in the other. They exchanged the knowledge of the respective uses of these things. To show the power of the sword, the clothed man cut off a rod, and placed it before him. The naked man immediately put the parts together and they were healed. He then took his club, which was flat, and cut off the rod, and again healed the mutilated parts. He relied on the rattle to answer the same purpose as the other's book. The clothed man tried the use of the club, but could not use it with skill, while the naked man took the sword and used it as well as the other.

[Pg 199]Oriwahento continued:—It is said that Evil killed his mother at his birth. He did not enter the world the right way, but bursted from the womb. They took the body of the mother and laid it upon a scaffold. From the droppings of her decay, where they fell on the ground, sprang up corn, tobacco, and such other vegetable productions as the Indians have. Hence we call corn, our mother. And our tobacco propagates itself by spontaneous growth, without planting; but the clothed man is required to labour in raising it.

Good found his grandmother in no better humor when he came back from the interview with the naked man. He therefore took and cast her up, and she flew against the moon, upon whose face the traces of her are still to be seen.

This comprised the first interview; after a recess during which they were permitted to refresh themselves and smoke their pipes, I returned to the office and resumed the inquiries.

2. Where did your tribe first see white men on this continent? The French say you lived on the St. Lawrence, and afterwards went to the north, from whence you afterwards came down to the vicinity of Detroit. That you possess the privilege of lighting up the general council fire for the Lake tribes; and that you were converted to the catholic faith. Oriwahento again answered.

When the tribes were all settled, the Wyandots were placed at the head. They lived in the interior, at the mountains east, about the St. Lawrence. They were the first tribe of old, and had the first chieftainship. The chief said to their nephew, the Lenapees, Go down to the sea coast and look, and if you see any thing bring me word. They had a village near the sea side, and often looked, but saw nothing except birds. At length they espied an object, which seemed to grow and come nearer, and nearer. When it came near the land it stopped, but all the people were afraid, and fled to the woods. The next day, two of their number ventured out to look. It was lying quietly on the water. A smaller object of the same sort came out of it, and walked with long legs (oars) over the water. When it came to land two men came out of it. They were different from us and made signs for the others to come out of the woods. A conference ensued. Presents were exchanged. They gave presents to the Lenapees, and the latter gave them their skin clothes as curiosities. Three distinct visits, at separate times, and long intervals, were made. The mode in which the white men got a footing, and power in the country was this. First, room was asked, and leave given to place a chair on the shore. But they soon began to pull the lacing out of its bottom, and go inland with it; and they have not yet come to the end of the string. He exemplified this original demand for a cession of territory and its renewal at other epochs, by other figures of speech, namely, of a bull's hide, and of a man walking. The first request for a seat on the[Pg 200] shore, was made he said of the Lenapees; alluding to the cognate branches of this stock, who were anciently settled at the harbour of New York, and that vicinity.

To the question of their flight from the St. Lawrence, their settlement in the north, and their subsequent migration to, and settlement on, the straits of Detroit, Oriwahento said:

The Wyandots were proud. God had said that such should be beaten and brought low. This is the cause why we were followed from the east, and went up north away to Michilimackinac, but as we had the right before, so when we came back, the tribes looked up to us, as holding the council fire.[18]

3. What relationship do you acknowledge, to the other western tribes?

Answer by Oriwahento: We call the Lenapees, nephews; we call the Odjibwas (Chippewas), Ottawas, Miamis &c., Younger Brother. We call the Shawnees, the Youngest Brother. The Wyandots were the first tribe in ancient times. The first chieftainship was in their tribe.

[18] This is certainly a dignified and wise answer; designed as it was, to cover their disastrous defeat and flight from the St. Lawrence valley to the north. The precedence to which he alludes, on reaching the straits of Detroit, as having been theirs before, is to be understood, doubtless, of the era of their residence on the lower St. Lawrence, where they were at the head of the French and Indian confederacy against the Iroquois. Among the latter, they certainly had no precedency, so far as history reaches. Their council fire was kept by the Onondagas.


1. Are the Wyandot and Mohawk languages, alike in sounds. You say, you speak both.

Ans. Not at all alike. It is true there are a few words so, but the two languages do not seem to me more akin than English and French. You know some English and French words are alike. The Mohawk language is on the tongue, the Wyandot is in the throat.

2. Give me some examples: Read some of this translation of the Mohawk, (handing him John's Gospel printed by the American Bible Society in 1818.) He complied, reading it fluently, and appearing to have been acquainted with the translation.

Further conversation, in which his attention was drawn to particular facts in its structure and principles, made him see stronger analogies between the two tongues. It was quite evident, that he had never reflected on the subject, and that there were, both grammatically, and philologically, coincidences beyond his depth.


[Pg 201]


There are some curious traditions related by the race of people living on that part of the continent lying north and west of Athabasca lake, and the river Unjigah. Mackenzie has described that branch of them, who are called by the trivial name of Che-pe-wyans. This is an Algonquin term, meaning puckered blankets, and has reference only to the most easterly and southerly division of the race. They are but the van of an extensive race. All that gives identity to their general traditions, and distinctive character and language, relates as well to the Dogribs, the Coppermines, the Strongbows, the Ambawtawoots, the Hares, the Brushwoods, the Sursees, the Tacullies, the Nateotetains, and other tribes located north of them, extending to the Arctic Ocean, and west through the Peace river pass of the Rocky Mountains. Philology brings into one group all these dialects of a wide spread race, who extend from the borders of the Atnah nation on the Columbia, across the Rocky Mountains eastwardly to the Lake of the Hills and the Missinipi or Churchill river, covering many degrees of latitude and longitude. In the absence of any generic name for them, founded on language or character, I shall allude to them under the geographical phrase of Arctides.

This stock of people have proceeded from the direction of the North Pacific towards the Atlantic waters, in a general eastern direction, in which respect, their history forms a striking exception to the other great stocks of the eastern part of the United States, the Canadas, and Hudson's bay, who have been in a continual progress towards the WEST and NORTHWEST. The Arctides, on the contrary, have proceeded EAST and SOUTHEAST. They may be supposed, therefore, to bring their traditions more directly from opposite portions of the continent, and from Asia, and it may be inferred, from more unmixed and primitive sources. Some of these traditions are, at least, of a curious and striking character. They believe, like the more southerly tribes, in the general tradition of a deluge, and of a paradise, or land of future bliss. They have apparently, veiled the Great[Pg 202] Spirit, or creator of the globe, under the allegory of a gigantic bird. They believe, that there was originally nothing visible but one vast ocean. Upon this the bird descended from the sky, with a noise of his wings which produced sounds resembling thunder. The earth, as he alighted, immediately rose above the waters. This bird of creative power, then made all the classes of animals, who were made out of earth. They all had precedency to man. Man alone, the last in the series, was created from the integument of a dog. This, they believe, was their own origin, and hence, as Mackenzie tells us, they will not eat the flesh of this animal, as is done by the other tribes of the continent. To guard and protect them, he then made a magic arrow, which they were to preserve with great care, and hold sacred. But they were so thoughtless, they add, as to carry it away and lose it, upon which the great bird took his flight, and has never since appeared. This magic arrow is doubtless to be regarded as a symbol of something else, which was very essential to their safety and happiness. Indian history is often disguised under such symbolic forms.

They have also a tradition that they originally came from a foreign country, which was inhabited by a wicked people. They had to cross a great lake, or water, which was shallow, narrow, and full of islands. Their track lay also through snow and ice, and they suffered miserably from cold. They first landed at the mouth of the Coppermine river. The earth thereabouts was then strewed with metallic copper, which has since disappeared.

They believe that, in ancient times, men lived till their feet were worn out with walking, and their throats with eating. They represent their ancestors as living to very great ages. They describe a deluge, in which the waters spread over the whole earth, except the highest mountains, on which their progenitors were saved.

Their notions of a future state coincide generally with the other stocks. But their paradise is clothed with more imaginative traits. They believe, that at death they pass immediately to another world, where there is a large river of water to cross. They must embark in a stone canoe, and are borne along into a wide lake, which has an island in its centre. This is the island of the blest, and the object of the disembodied soul is to reach it. If their lives have been good, they will be fortunate, and make it. If bad, they will sink; but they will only sink to the depth of their chins, so that they may be permitted to behold the happy land, and strive in vain to reach it. Eternity is passed in this vain endeavour.

They have also some notion of the doctrine of transmigration. Such are the traditionary notions of this numerous family of the Red Race, which are sufficiently distinctive and peculiar,—and while they resemble in many traits, yet in others they contradistinguish them from the great Algic race of the eastern part of the continent. The most advanced[Pg 203] branch of these tribes in their geographical position, call themselves, as reported by Capt. Franklin, People of the Rising Sun, or Saw-eesaw-dinneh.

It seems singular, that the farther north we go, the greater evidences do we behold of imagination, in the aboriginal race, together with some foreshadowings of future punishment.


Of all the existing branches of the Algonquin stock in America, this extensive and populous tribe appears to have the strongest claims to intellectual distinction, on the score of their traditions, so far, at least, as the present state of our inquiries extends. They possess, in their curious fictitious legends and lodge-tales, a varied and exhaustless fund of tradition, which is repeated from generation to generation. These legends hold, among the wild men of the north, the relative rank of story-books; and are intended both to amuse and instruct. This people possess also, the art of picture writing, in a degree which denotes that they have been, either more careful, or more fortunate, in the preservation of this very ancient art of the human race. Warriors, and the bravest of warriors, they are yet an intellectual people.

Their traditions and belief, on the origin of the globe, and the existence of a Supreme Being, are quite accordant with some things in our own history and theory. They believe that the Great Spirit created material matter, and that he made the earth and heavens, by the power of his will. He afterwards made animals and men, out of the earth, and he filled space with subordinate spirits, having something of his own nature, to whom he gave a part of his own power. He made one great and master spirit of evil, to whom he also gave assimilated and subordinate evil spirits, to execute his will. Two antagonist powers, they believe, were thus placed in the world who are continually striving for the mastery, and who have power to affect the fortunes and lives of men. This constitutes the ground-work of their religion, sacrifices and worship.

They believe that animals were created before men, and that they originally had rule on the earth. By the power of necromancy, some of these animals were transformed to men, who, as soon as they assumed this new form, began to hunt the animals, and make war against them. It is[Pg 204] expected that these animals will resume their human shapes, in a future state, and hence their hunters, feign some clumsy excuses, for their present policy of killing them. They believe that all animals, and birds and reptiles, and even insects, possess reasoning faculties, and have souls. It is in these opinions, that we detect the ancient doctrine of transmigration.

Their most intelligent priests tell us, that their forefathers worshipped the sun; this luminary was regarded by them, as one of their Medas told me, as the symbol of divine intelligence, and the figure of it is drawn in their system of picture writing, to denote the Great Spirit. This symbol very often occurs in their pictures of the medicine dance, and the wabeno dance, and other sacred forms of their rude inscriptions.

They believe, at least to some extent, in a duality of souls, one of which is fleshly, or corporeal, the other is incorporeal or mental. The fleshly soul goes immediately, at death, to the land of spirits, or future bliss. The mental soul abides with the body, and hovers round the place of sepulture. A future state is regarded by them, as a state of rewards, and not of punishments. They expect to inhabit a paradise, filled with pleasures for the eye, and the ear, and the taste. A strong and universal belief in divine mercies absorbs every other attribute of the Great Spirit, except his power and ubiquity; and they believe, so far as we can gather it, that this mercy will be shown to all. There is not, in general, a very discriminating sense of moral distinctions and responsibilities, and the faint out-shadowings, which we sometimes hear among them, of a deep and sombre stream to be crossed by the adventurous soul, in its way to the land of bliss, does not exercise such a practical influence over their lives, as to interfere with the belief of universal acceptance after death. So firm is this belief, that their proper and most reverend term for the Great Spirit, is Gézha Monedo, that is to say, Merciful Spirit. Gitchy Monedo, which is also employed, is often an equivocal phrase. The term Wäzheáud, or Maker, is used to designate the Creator, when speaking of his animated works. The compound phrase Wäosemigóyan, or universal Father, is also heard.

The great spirit of evil, called Mudje Monedo, and Matche Monito, is regarded as a created, and not a pre-existing being. Subordinate spirits of evil, are denoted by using the derogative form of the word, in sh by which Moneto is rendered Monetosh. The exceeding flexibility of the language is well calculated to enable them to express distinction of this nature.

This tribe has a general tradition of a deluge, in which the earth was covered with water, reaching above the highest hills, or mountains, but not above a tree which grew on the latter, by climbing which a man was saved. This man was the demi-god of their fictions, who is called Manabozho, by whose means the waters were stayed and the earth re-created. He employed for this purpose various animals who were sent to dive[Pg 205] down for some of the primordial earth, of which a little was, at length, brought up by the beaver, and this formed the germ or nucleus of the new, or rather rescued planet. What particular allegories are hid under this story, is not certain; but it is known that this, and other tribes, are much in the habit of employing allegories, and symbols, under which we may suspect, they have concealed parts of their historical traditions and beliefs. This deluge of the Algonquin tribes, was produced, as their legends tell, by the agency of the chief of the evil spirits, symbolized by a great serpent, who is placed, throughout the tale, in an antagonistical position to the demi-god Manabosho. This Manabozho, is the same, it is thought, with the Abou, and the Michabou, or the Great Hare of elder writers.

Of their actual origin and history, the Chippewas have no other certain tradition, than that they came from Wabenong, that is to say, the land of the EAST. They have no authentic history, therefore, but such remembered events, as must be placed subsequent to the era of the discovery of the continent. Whether this tradition is to be interpreted as an ancient one, having reference to their arrival on the continent, or merely to the track of their migration, after reaching it, is a question to be considered. It is only certain, that they came to their present position on the banks of Lake Superior, from the direction of the Atlantic seaboard, and were, when discovered, in the attitude of an invading nation, pressing westward and northward. Their distinctive name sheds no light on this question. They call themselves Od-jib-wäg, which is the plural of Odjibwa,—a term which appears to denote a peculiarity in their voice, or manner of utterance. This word has been pronounced Chippewa by the Saxon race in America, and is thus recorded in our treaties and history. They are, in language, manners and customs, and other characteristics, a well marked type of the leading Algonquin race, and indeed, the most populous, important, and wide spread existing branch of that family now on the continent. The term Chippewa, may be considered as inveterately fixed by popular usage, but in all disquisitions which have their philology or distinctive character in view, the true vernacular term of Od-jib-wa, will be found to possess advantages to writers. The word Algonquin is still applied to a small local band, at the Lake of Two Mountains, on the Utawas river, near Montreal, but this term, first bestowed by the French, has long been a generic phrase for the entire race, who are identified by the ties of a common original Language in the United States and British America.

One of the most curious opinions of this people is their belief in the mysterious and sacred character of fire. They obtain sacred fire, for all national and ecclesiastical purposes, from the flint. Their national pipes are lighted with this fire. It is symbolical of purity. Their notions of the boundary between life and death, which is also symbolically the limit of the material verge between this and a future state, are revealed in con[Pg 206]nection with the exhibition of flames of fire. They also make sacrifices by fire of some part of the first fruits of the chase. These traits are to be viewed, perhaps, in relation to their ancient worship of the sun, above noticed, of which the traditions and belief, are still generally preserved. The existence among them of the numerous classes of jossakeeds, or mutterers—(the word is from the utterance of sounds low on the earth,) is a trait that will remind the reader of a similar class of men, in early ages, in the eastern hemisphere. These persons constitute, indeed, the Magii of our western forests. In the exhibition of their art, and of the peculiar notions they promulgate on the subject of a sacred fire, and the doctrine of transmigration, they would seem to have their affiliation of descent rather with the disciples of Zoroaster and the fruitful Persian stock, than with the less mentally refined Mongolian hordes.



[19] New York Lit. & Theo. Review.

It is known that the Indian tribes of this continent live in a state of mental bondage to a class of men, who officiate as their priests and soothsayers. These men found their claims to supernatural power on early fastings, dreams, ascetic manners and habits, and often on some real or feigned fit of insanity. Most of them affect a knowledge of charms and incantations. They are provided with a sack of mystic implements, the contents of which are exhibited in the course of their ceremonies, such as the hollow bones of some of the larger anseres, small carved representations of animals, cowrie and other sea-shells, &c. Some of these men acquire a character for much sanctity, and turn their influence to political purposes, either personally or through some popular warrior, as was instanced in the success of the sachems Buchanjahela, Little Turtle and Tecumthè.

We have recently had an opportunity of conversing with one of this class of sacred person, who has within late years embraced Christianity; and have made some notes of the interview, which we will advert to for the purpose of exhibiting his testimony, as to the true character of this[Pg 207] class of impostors. Chusco, the person referred to, is an Ottawa Indian who has long exercised the priestly office, so to say, to his brethren on the northern frontiers. He is now a man turned of seventy. He is of small stature, somewhat bent forward, and supports the infirmities of age by walking with a staff. His sight is impaired, but his memory accurate, enabling him to narrate with particularity events which transpired more than half a century ago. He was present at the great convocation of northern Indians at Greenville, which followed Gen. Wayne's victories in the west—an event to which most of these tribes look back, as an era in their history. He afterwards returned to his native country in the upper lakes, and fixed his residence at Michilimackinac, where in late years, his wife became a convert to the Christian faith, and united herself to the mission church on that island. A few years after, the old prophet, who despised this mode of faith, and thought but little of his wife's sagacity in uniting herself to a congregation of believers, felt his own mind arrested by the same truths, and finally also embraced them, and was propounded for admission, and afterwards kept on trial before the session. It was about this time, or soon after he had been received as an applicant for membership, that the writer visited his lodge, and entered into a full examination of his sentiments and opinions, contrasting them freely with what they had formerly been. We requested him to narrate to us the facts of his conversion to the principles of Christianity, indicating the progress of truth on his mind, which he did in substance, through an interpreter, as follows:

"In the early part of my life I lived very wickedly, following the Meta, the Jeesukan, and the Wabeno, the three great superstitious observances of my people. I did not know that these societies were made up of errors until my wife, whose heart had been turned by the missionaries, informed me of it. I had no pleasure in listening to her on this subject, and often turned away, declaring that I was well satisfied with the religion of my forefathers. She took every occasion of talking to me on the subject. She told me that the Indian societies were bad, and that all who adhered to them were no better than open servants of the Evil Spirit. She had, in particular, four long talks with me on the subject, and explained to me who God was, and what sin was, as it is written in God's book. I believed before, that there was One Great Spirit who was the Master of life, who had made men and beasts. But she explained to me the true character of this Great Spirit, the sinfulness of the heart, and the necessity of having it changed from evil to good by praying through Jesus Christ. By degrees I came to understand it. She told me that the Ghost of God or Holy Spirit only could make the heart better, and that the souls of all who died, without having felt this power, would be burned in the fires. The missionaries had directed her to speak to me and put words in her mouth; and she said so much that,[Pg 208] at length, I did not feel satisfied with my old way of life. Amongst other things she spoke against drinking, which I was very fond of.

"I did not relish these conversations, but I could not forget them. When I reflected upon them, my heart was not as fixed as it used to be. I began to see that the Indian Societies were bad, for I knew from my own experience, that it was not a good Spirit that I had relied upon. I determined that I would not undertake to jeesukà or to look into futurity any longer for the Indians, nor practice the Meta's art. After a while I began to see more fully that the Indian ceremonies were all bad, and I determined to quit them altogether, and give heed to what was declared in God's book.

"The first time that I felt I was to be condemned as a sinner, and that I was in danger of being punished for sin by God, is clearly in my mind. I was then on the Island of Bois Blanc, making sugar with my wife. I was in a conflict of mind, and hardly knew what I was about. I walked around the kettles, and did not know what I walked for. I felt sometimes like a person wishing to cry, but I thought it would be unmanly to cry. For the space of two weeks, I felt in this alarmed and unhappy mood. It seemed to me sometimes as if I must die. My heart and my bones felt as if they would burst and fall asunder. My wife asked me if I was sick, and said I looked pale. I was in an agony of body and mind, especially during one week. It seemed, during this time, as if an evil spirit haunted me. When I went out to gather sap, I felt conscious that this spirit went with me and dogged me. It appeared to animate my own shadow.

"My strength was failing under this conflict. One night, after I had been busy all day, my mind was in great distress. This shadowy influence seemed to me to persuade me to go to sleep. I was tired, and I wished rest, but I could not sleep. I began to pray. I knelt down and prayed to God. I continued to pray at intervals through the night; I asked to know the truth. I then laid down and went to sleep. This sleep brought me rest and peace. In the morning my wife awoke me, telling me it was late. When I awoke I felt placid and easy in mind. My distress had left me. I asked my wife what day it was. She told me it was the Sabbath (in the Indian, prayer-day). I replied, 'how I wish I could go to the church at the mission! Formerly I used to avoid it, and shunned those who wished to speak to me of praying to God, but now my heart longs to go there.' This feeling did not leave me.

"After three days I went to the mission. The gladness of my heart continued the same as I had felt it the first morning at the camp. My first feeling when I landed, was pity for my drunken brethren, and I prayed that they might also be brought to find the true God. I spoke to the missionary, who at subsequent interviews explained to me the truth, the rite of baptism, and other principles. He wished, however, to[Pg 209] try me by my life, and I wished it also. It was the following autumn, that I was received into the church."

We now turned his mind to the subject of intemperance in drinking, understanding that it had been his former habit. He replied that he had been one of the greatest drunkards. He had not been satisfied with a ten days' drink. He would go and drink as long as he could get it. He said, that during the night in which he first prayed, it was one of the first subjects of his prayers, that God would remove this desire with his other evil desires. He added, "God did so." When he arose that morning the desire had left him. The evil spirit then tempted him by suggesting to his mind—"Should some one now enter and offer you liquor, would you not taste it?" He averred he could, at that moment, firmly answer No! It was now seven years since he had tasted a drop of strong drink. He remarked that when he used first to visit the houses of Christians, who gladly opened their doors to him, they were in the habit of asking him to drink a glass of cider or wine, which he did. But this practice had nearly ruined him. On one occasion he felt the effects of what he had thus been prevailed on to drink. The danger he felt himself to be in was such, that he was alarmed and gave up this practice also.

He detailed some providential trials which he had been recently exposed to. He had observed, he said, that those of his people who had professed piety and had subsequently fallen off, had nevertheless prospered in worldly things, while he had found it very hard to live. He was often in a state of want, and his lodge was so poor and bad, that it would not keep out the rain. Both he and his wife were feeble, and their clothes were worn out. They had now but a single blanket between them. But when these trials came up in his mind, he immediately resorted to God, who satisfied him.

Another trait in the character of his piety, may here be mentioned. The autumn succeeding his conversion, he went over to the spot on the island where he had planted potatoes. The Indian method is, not to visit their small plantations from the time that their corn or potatoes are hilled. He was pleased to find that the crop in this instance promised to yield abundantly, and his wife immediately commenced the process of raising them. "Stop!" exclaimed the grateful old man, "dare you dig these potatoes until we have thanked the Lord for them?" They then both knelt in prayer, and afterwards gathered the crop.

This individual appeared to form a tangible point in the intellectual chain between Paganism and Christianity, which it is felt important to examine. We felt desirous of drawing from him such particulars respecting his former practice in necromancy and the prophetic art, as might lead to correct philosophical conclusions. He had been the great juggler of his tribe. He was now accepted as a Christian. What were his own[Pg 210] conceptions of the power and arts he had practised? How did these things appear to his mind, after a lapse of several years, during which his opinions and feelings had undergone changes, in many respects so striking? We found not the slightest avoiding of this topic on his part. He attributed all his ability in deceptive arts to the agency of the Evil Spirit; and he spoke of it with the same settled tone that he had manifested in reciting other points in his personal experience. He believed that he had followed a spirit whose object it was to deceive the Indians and make them miserable. He believed that this spirit had left him and that he was now following, in the affections of his heart, the spirit of Truth.

Numerous symbols of the classes of the animate creation are relied on by the Indian metays and wabenos, to exhibit their affected power of working miracles and to scrutinize the scenes of futurity. The objects which this man had appealed to as personal spirits in the arcanum of his lodge, were the tortoise, the swan, the woodpecker and the crow. He had dreamed of these at his initial fast in his youth, during the period set apart for this purpose, and he believed that a satanic influence was exerted, by presenting to his mind one or more of these solemnly appropriated objects at the moment of his invoking them. This is the theory drawn from his replies. We solicited him to detail the modus operandi, after entering the juggler's lodge. This lodge resembles an acute pyramid with the apex open. It is formed of poles, covered with tight-drawn skins. His replies were perfectly ingenuous, evincing nothing of the natural taciturnity and shyness of the Indian mind. The great object with the operator is to agitate this lodge, and cause it to move and shake without uprooting it from its basis, in such a manner as to induce the spectators to believe that the power of action is superhuman. After this manifestation of spiritual presence, the priest within is prepared to give oracular responses. The only articles within were a drum and rattle. In reply to our inquiry as to the mode of procedure, he stated that his first essay, after entering the lodge, was to strike the drum and commence his incantations. At this time his personal manitos assumed their agency, and received, it is to be inferred, a satanic energy. Not that he affects that there was any visible form assumed. But he felt their spirit-like presence. He represents the agitation of the lodge to be due to currents of air, having the irregular and gyratory power of a whirlwind. He does not pretend that his responses were guided by truth, but on the contrary affirms that they were given under the influence of the evil spirit.

We interrogated him as to the use of physical and mechanical means in effecting cures, in the capacity of a meta, or a medicine man. He referred to various medicines, some of which he thinks were antibilious or otherwise sanatory. He used two bones in the exhibition of his[Pg 211] physical skill, one of which was white and the other green. His arcanum also embraced two small stone images. He affected to look into and through the flesh, and to draw from the body fluids, as bile and blood. He applied his mouth in suction. He characterized both the meta or medicine dances and the wabeno dances by a term which may be translated deviltry. Yet he discriminated between these two popular institutions by adding that the meta included the use of medicines, good and bad. The wabeno, on the contrary, consisted wholly in a wild exhibition of mere braggadocio and trick. It is not, according to him, an ancient institution. It originated, he said, with a Pottawattomie, who was sick and lunatic a month. When this man recovered he pretended that he had ascended to heaven, and had brought thence divine arts, to aid his countrymen.

With respect to the opinion steadfastly maintained by this venerable subject of Indian reformation, that his deceptive arts were rendered effectual in the way he designed, by satanic agency, we leave the reader to form his own conclusions. In his mode of stating the facts, we concede much to him, on the score of long established mental habits, and the peculiarities arising from a mythology, exceeding even that of ancient Greece, for the number, variety and ubiquity of its objects. But we perceive nothing, on Christian theories, heterodox in the general position. When the truth of the gospel comes to be grafted into the benighted heart of a pagan, such as Chusco was, it throws a fearful light on the objects which have been cherished there. The whole system of the mythological agency of the gods and spirits of the heathen world and its clumsy machinery is shown to be a sheer system of demonology, referable, in its operative effects on the minds of individuals, to the "Prince of the power of the air." As such the Bible depicts it. We have not been in the habit of conceding the existence of demoniacal possessions, in the present era of Christianity, and have turned over some scores of chapters and verses to satisfy our minds of the abrogation of these things. But we have found no proofs of such a withdrawal of evil agency short of the very point where our subject places it—that is, the dawning of the light of Christianity in the heart. We have, on the contrary, found in the passages referred to, the declaration of the full and free existence of such an agency in the general import, and apprehend that it cannot be plucked out of the sacred writings.

The language of such an agency appears to be fully developed among the northern tribes. Spirit-ridden they certainly are; and the mental slavery in which they live, under the fear of an invisible agency of evil spirits, is, we apprehend, greater even than the bondage of the body. The whole mind is bowed down under these intellectual fetters which circumscribe its volitions, and bind it as effectually as with the hooks of steel which pierce a whirling Hindoo's flesh. Whatever is wonderful,[Pg 212] or past comprehension to their minds, is referred to the agency of a spirit. This is the ready solution of every mystery in nature, and of every refinement of mechanical power in art. A watch is, in the intricacy of its machinery, a spirit. A piece of blue cloth—cast and blistered steel—a compass, a jewel, an insect, &c., are, respectively, a spirit. Thunder consists, in their transcendental astronomy, of so many distinct spirits. The aurora borealis is a body of dancing spirits, or rather ghosts of the departed.

Such were the ideas and experiences of Chusco, after his union with the church; and with these views he lived and died, having given evidence, as was thought, of the reception of the Saviour, through faith.

To give some idea of the Indian mythology as above denoted, it is necessary to conceive every department of the universe to be filled with invisible spirits. These spirits hold in their belief nearly the same relation to matter that the soul does to the body: they pervade it. They believe not only that every man, but also that every animal, has a soul; and as might be expected under this belief, they make no distinction between instinct and reason. Every animal is supposed to be endowed with a reasoning faculty. The movements of birds and other animals are deemed to be the result, not of mere instinctive animal powers implanted and limited by the creation, without inherent power to exceed or enlarge them, but of a process of ratiocination. They go a step farther, and believe that animals, particularly birds, can look into, and are familiar with the vast operations of the world above. Hence the great respect they pay to birds as agents of omen, and also to some animals, whose souls they expect to encounter in another life. Nay, it is the settled belief among the northern Algonquins, that animals will fare better in another world, in the precise ratio that their lives and enjoyments have been curtailed in this life.

Dreams are considered by them as a means of direct communication with the spiritual world; and hence the great influence which dreams exert over the Indian mind and conduct. They are generally regarded as friendly warnings of their personal manitos. No labor or enterprise is undertaken against their indications. A whole army is turned back if the dreams of the officiating priest are unfavorable. A family lodge has been known to be deserted by all its inmates at midnight, leaving the fixtures behind, because one of the family had dreamt of an attack, and been frightened with the impression of blood and tomahawks. To give more solemnity to his office the priest or leading meta exhibits a sack containing the carved or stuffed images of animals, with medicines and bones constituting the sacred charms. These are never exhibited to the common gaze, but, on a march, the sack is hung up in plain view. To profane the medicine sack would be equivalent to violating the altar.[Pg 213] Dreams are carefully sought by every Indian, whatever be their rank, at certain periods of youth, with fasting. These fasts are sometimes continued a great number of days, until the devotee becomes pale and emaciated. The animals that appear propitiously to the mind during these dreams, are fixed on and selected as personal manitos, and are ever after viewed as guardians. This period of fasting and dreaming is deemed as essential by them as any religious rite whatever employed by Christians. The initial fast of a young man or girl holds the relative importance of baptism, with this peculiarity, that it is a free-will, or self-dedicatory rite.

The naming of children has an intimate connection with the system of mythological agency. Names are usually bestowed by some aged person, most commonly under the supposed guidance of a particular spirit. They are often derived from the mystic scenes presented in a dream, and refer to aerial phenomena. Yellow Thunder, Bright Sky, Big Cloud, Spirit Sky, Spot in the Sky, are common names for males. Females are more commonly named from the vernal or autumnal landscape, as Woman of the Valley, Woman of the Rock, &c. Females are not excluded from participation in the prophetical office or jugglership. Instances of their having assumed this function are known to have occurred, although it is commonly confined to males. In every other department of life they are apparently regarded as inferior or inclusive beings. Names bestowed with ceremony in childhood are deemed sacred, and are seldom pronounced, out of respect, it would seem, to the spirit under whose favor they are supposed to have been selected. Children are usually called in the family by some name which can be familiarly used. A male child is frequently called by the mother, a bird, or young one, or old man, as terms of endearment, or bad boy, evil-doer, &c., in the way of light reproach; and these names often adhere to the individual through life. Parents avoid the true name often by saying my son, my younger, or my elder son, or my younger or my elder daughter, for which the language has separate words. This subject of a reluctance to tell their names is very curious and deserving of investigation.

The Indian "art and mystery" of hunting is a tissue of necromantic or mythological reliances. The personal spirits of the hunter are invoked to give success in the chace. Images of the animals sought for are sometimes carved in wood, or drawn by the metas on tabular pieces of wood. By applying their mystic medicines to these, the animals are supposed to be drawn into the hunter's path; and when animals have been killed, the Indian feels, that although they are an authorized and lawful prey, yet there is something like accountability to the animal's suppositional soul. An Indian has been known to ask the pardon of an animal, which he had just killed. Drumming, shaking the rattle, and dancing and singing, are the common accompaniments of all these super[Pg 214]stitious observances, and are not peculiar to one class alone. In the wabeno dance, which is esteemed by the Indians as the most latitudinarian co-fraternity, love songs are introduced. They are never heard in the medicine dances. They would subject one to utter contempt in the war dance.

The system of manito worship has another peculiarity, which is illustrative of Indian character. During the fasts and ceremonial dances by which a warrior prepares himself to come up to the duties of war, everything that savors of effeminacy is put aside. The spirits which preside over bravery and war are alone relied on, and these are supposed to be offended by the votary's paying attention to objects less stern and manly than themselves. Venus and Mars cannot be worshipped at the same time. It would be considered a complete desecration for a warrior, while engaged in war, to entangle himself by another, or more tender sentiment. We think this opinion should be duly estimated in the general award which history gives to the chastity of warriors. We would record the fact to their praise, as fully as it has been done; but we would subtract something from the motive, in view of his paramount obligations of a sacred character, and also the fear of the ridicule of his co-warriors.

In these leading doctrines of an oral and mystic school of wild philosophy may be perceived the ground-work of their mythology, and the general motive for selecting familiar spirits. Manito, or as the Chippewas pronounce it, monédo, signifies simply a spirit, and there is neither a good nor bad meaning attached to it, when not under the government of some adjective or qualifying particle. We think, however, that so far as there is a meaning distinct from an invisible existence, the tendency is to a bad meaning. A bad meaning is, however, distinctly conveyed by the inflection, osh or ish. The particle wee, added in the same relation, indicates a witch. Like numerous other nouns, it has its diminutive in os, its plural in wug, and its local form in ing. To add "great," as the Jesuit writers did, is far from deciding the moral character of the spirit, and hence modern translators prefix gezha, signifying merciful. Yet we doubt whether the word God should not be carried boldly into translations of the scriptures. In the conference and prayer-room, the native teachers use the inclusive pronominal form of Father, altogether. Truth breaks slowly on the mind, sunk in so profound a darkness as the Indians are, and there is danger in retaining the use of words like those which they have so long employed in a problematical, if not a derogative sense.

The love for mystery and magic which pervades the native ceremonies, has affected the forms of their language. They have given it a power to impart life to dead masses. Vitality in their forms of utterance is deeply implanted in all these dialects, which have been examined; they provide, by the process of inflection, for keeping a perpetual[Pg 215] distinction between the animate and inanimate kingdoms. But where vitality and spirituality are so blended as we see them in their doctrine of animal souls, the inevitable result must be, either to exalt the principle of life, in all the classes of nature, into immortality, or to sink the latter to the level of mere organic life. Indian word-makers have taken the former dilemma, and peopled their paradise not only with the souls of men, but with the souls of every imaginable kind of beasts. Spirituality is thus clogged with sensual accidents. The human soul hungers, and it must have food deposited upon the grave. It suffers from cold, and the body must be wrapped about with cloths. It is in darkness, and a light must be kindled at the head of the grave. It wanders through plains and across streams, subject to the providences of this life, in quest of its place of enjoyment, and when it reaches it, it finds every species of sensual trial, which renders the place not indeed a heaven of rest, but another experimental world—very much like this. Of punishments, we hear nothing; rewards are looked for abundantly, and the idea that the Master of life, or the merciful Spirit, will be alike merciful to all, irrespective of the acts of this life, or the degree of moral turpitude, appears to leave for their theology a belief in restorations or universalism. There is nothing to refer them to a Saviour; that IDEA was beyond their conception, and of course there was no occasion for the offices of the Holy Ghost. Darker and more chilling views to a theologian, it would be impossible to present. Yet it may be asked, what more benign result could have been, or can now be, anticipated in the hearts of an ignorant, uninstructed and wandering people, exposed to sore vicissitudes in their lives and fortunes, and without the guidance of the light of Revelation?

Of their mythology proper, we have space only to make a few remarks. Some of the mythologic existences of the Indians admit of poetic uses. Manabozho may be considered as a sort of terrene Jove, who could perform all things whatever, but lived some time on earth, and excelled particularly in feats of strength and manual dexterity. All the animals were subject to him. He also survived a deluge, which the traditions mention, having climbed a tree on an extreme elevation during the prevalence of the waters, and sent down various animals for some earth, out of which he re-created the globe. The four cardinal points are so many demi-gods, of whom the West, called Kabeun, has priority of age. The East, North and South are deemed to be his sons, by a maid who incautiously exposed herself to the west wind. Iagoo (Iagoo) is the god of the marvellous, and many most extravagant tales of forest and domestic adventure are heaped upon him. Kwasind is a sort of Samson, who threw a huge mass of rock such as the Cyclops cast at Mentor. Weeng is the god of sleep, who is represented to have numerous small emissaries at his service, reminding us of Pope's[Pg 216] creation of gnomes. These minute emissaries climb up the forehead, and wielding a tiny club, knock individuals to sleep. Pauguk is death, in his symbolic attitude. He is armed with a bow and arrows. It would be easy to extend this enumeration.

The mental powers of the Indian constitutes a topic which we do not design to discuss. But it must be manifest that some of their peculiarities are brought out by their system of mythology and spirit-craft. War, public policy, hunting, abstinence, endurance and courageous adventure, form the leading topics of their mental efforts. These are deemed the appropriate themes of men, sages and warriors. But their intellectual essays have also a domestic theatre of exhibition. It is here that the Indian mind unbends itself and reveals some of its less obvious traits. Their public speakers cultivate a particular branch of oratory. They are careful in the use of words, and are regarded as standards of purity in the language. They appear to have an accurate ear for sounds, and delight in rounding off a period, for which the languages afford great facilities, by their long and stately words, and multiform inflexions. A drift of thought—an elevation of style, is observable in their public speaking which is dropt in private conversation. Voice, attitude and motion, are deemed of the highest consequence. Much of the meaning of their expressions is varied by the vehement, subdued, or prolonged tone in which they are uttered. In private conversation, on the contrary, all is altered. There is an equanimity of tone, and easy vein of narration or dialogue, in which the power of mimicry is most strikingly brought out. The very voice and words of the supposed speakers, in their fictitious legends, are assumed. Fear, supplication, timidity or boasting, are exactly depicted, and the deepest interest excited. All is ease and freedom from restraint. There is nothing of the coldness or severe formality of the council. The pipe is put to its ordinary use, and all its symbolic sanctity is laid aside with the wampum belt and the often reiterated state epithets, "Nosa" and "Kosinan," i.e. my father and our father.

Another striking trait of the race is found in their legends and tales. Those of the aboriginal race who excel in private conversation, become to their tribes oral chroniclers, and are relied on for historical traditions as well as tales. It is necessary, in listening to them, to distinguish between the gossip and the historian, the narrator of real events, and of nursery tales. For they gather together everything from the fabulous feats of Manebozho and Misshozha, to the hair-breadth escapes of a Pontiac, or a Black Hawk. These narrators are generally men of a good memory and a certain degree of humor, who have experienced vicissitudes, and are cast into the vale of years. In the rehearsal of their tales, transformations and transmigrations are a part of the machinery relied on; and some of them are as accurately adapted to the purposes of amusement or instruction, as if Zoroaster or Ovid himself had been[Pg 217] consulted in their production. Many objects in the inanimate creation, according to these tales, were originally men and women. And numerous animals had other forms in their first stages of existence, which they, as well as human beings, forfeited, by the power of necromancy and transmigration. The evening star, it is fabled, was formerly a woman. An ambitious boy became one of the planets. Three brothers, travelling in a canoe, were translated into a group of stars. The fox, lynx, hare, robin, eagle and numerous other species, retain places in the Indian system of astronomy. The mouse obtained celestial elevation by creeping up the rainbow, which Indian story makes a flossy mass of bright threads, and by the power of gnawing them, he relieved a captive in the sky. It is a coincidence, which we note, that ursa major is called by them the bear.

These legends are not confined to the sky alone. The earth also is a fruitful theatre of transformations. The wolf was formerly a boy, who, being neglected by his parents, was transformed into this animal. A shell, lying on the shore, was transformed to the raccoon. The brains of an adulteress were converted into the addikumaig, or white fish.

The power of transformation was variously exercised. It most commonly existed in magicians, of whom Abo, Manabosh or Manabozha, and Mishosha, retain much celebrity. The latter possessed a magic canoe which would rush forward through the water on the utterance of a charm, with a speed that would outstrip the wind. Hundreds of miles were performed in as many minutes. The charm which he uttered, consisted of a monosyllable, containing one consonant, which does not belong to the language; and this word has no definable meaning. So that the language of magic and demonology has one feature in common in all ages and with every nation.

Man, in his common shape, is not alone the subject of their legends. The intellectual creations of the Indians admit of the agency of giants and fairies. Anak and his progeny could not have created more alarm in the minds of the ten faithless spies, than do the race of fabulous Weendigos to the Indian tribes. These giants are represented as cannibals, who ate up men, women and children. Indian fairies are of two classes, distinguished as the place of their revels is either the land or water. Land-fairies are imagined to choose their residences about promontories, water-falls and solemn groves. The water, besides its appropriate class of aquatic fairies, is supposed to be the residence of a race of beings called Nibanaba which have their analogy, except as to sex, in the mermaid. The Indian word indicates a male. Ghosts are the ordinary machinery in their tales of terror and mystery. There is, perhaps, a glimmering of the idea of retributive justice in the belief that ghosts and spirits are capable of existing in fire.

[Pg 218]


By far the most numerous relics of the Red Race, now found in those parts of our country from which it has disappeared, are the small stones with which they headed their arrows. Being made of the most durable substances, they have generally remained in the soil, unaffected by time and the changes of season. They most abound in those rich meadows which border some of our rivers, and in other spots of peculiar fertility, though of less extent, where the pasture, or other attractions, collected game for the Red men. The stones most commonly used were quartz and flint, which were preferred on account of the facility of shaping them, the keenness of the points and edges, which they readily present under the blows of a skilful manufacturer, as well as their superior hardness and imperishable nature. Multitudes of specimens still exist, which show the various forms and sizes to which the Red men reduced stones of these kinds: and they excite our admiration, by their perfect state of preservation, as well by the skilfulness of their manufacture.

Other stones, however, were not unfrequently used; and a collection which we have been making for many years, presents a considerable variety of materials, as well as of sizes, shapes and colors. Hard sandstone, trap or graacke, jasper and chalcedony, appear occasionally; some almost transparent. One of the larger size is made of steatite, and smooth, as if cut or scraped with a knife, contrary to the common method, of gradually chipping off small fragments of more brittle stone, by light blows often repeated. These arrow heads were fastened to the shaft, by inserting the butt into the split end, and tying round it a string of deer's sinews. A groove or depression is commonly observable in the stone, designed to receive the string. But it is sometimes difficult to imagine how the fastening was effected, as some perfect arrow-heads show no such depressions, and their forms are not well adapted to such a purpose. This peculiarity, however, is most frequently to be observed in specimens of small size, the larger, and especially such as are commonly supposed to have been the heads of spears, being usually well shaped for tying.

It is remarkable that some spots have been found, where such relics were surprizingly numerous. In Hartford, Connecticut, about thirty years ago, many were picked up in a garden, at the corner of Front and Mill streets. The spot was indeed on the bank of the Little River, probably at the head of Indian Canoe navigation: but yet no rational conjecture could be formed, to account for the discovery, except one. It was concluded that the place was an ancient burying ground. Many bits of coarse earthen-ware were found, such as are common in many parts of the country. About two miles below Middletown, Connecticut, on the slope of a[Pg 219] hill on the southern side of the Narrows, we discovered, some years since, a great number of small fragments of white quartz, scattered thickly over the surface of the ground, perhaps for half an acre. Among them were several arrowheads of various forms, most of them imperfect, and many pieces of stone, which at first sight resembled them, but, on closer inspection, seemed to have been designed for arrow heads, but spoiled in the making. Some had one good edge, or a point or barb, while the other parts of the same stones showed only the natural form and fracture. In many instances, it was easy to see that the workman might, well have been discouraged from proceeding any farther, by a flaw, a break or the nature of the stone. Our conclusion was, that the spot had long been a place where Indian arrow heads were made, and that we saw around us the refuse fragments rejected by the workmen. Other spots have been heard of resembling this.

If such relics were found nowhere else but in our own country, they would be curious, and worthy of preservation and attention: but it is an interesting fact, not however generally known, that they exist in many other parts of the world. Stone arrow and spear heads have been found in England for hundreds of years, and are believed to have been made and used by the Britons, who, in respect to civilization, were nearly on a level with our Indians. These relics are called by the common people Celts, from the race whose memory they recall; and particular accounts of them are given, with drawings, in several antiquarian works. They bear a striking resemblance to our Indian arrow heads; and many of them could be hardly, if at all, distinguished from those of America.

African arrows have been brought to this country, in which the points were of the same forms and materials, and fastened in the same manner. About twelve years ago a vessel from Stonington was attacked by a party of Patagonians, who threw arrows on board. One of these which we procured, was pointed with a head of milky quartz, exactly corresponding with specimens picked up in New England.

Among the relics found in excavating the low mounds on the plain of Marathon, as we were informed by one of our countrymen, who was at Athens some years ago, there were spear heads made of flint, which, he declared, were like those he had often seen ploughed up in his native fields. These, it was conjectured, might have been among the weapons of some of the rude Scythians in the Persian army, which met its defeat on that celebrated battle ground.

A negro, from an obscure group of islands, just north of New Guinea, in describing the weapons in use among his countrymen, drew the forms of spear heads, which he said were often made of stones; and, when shown specimens from our collection, declared that they were very much like them.

It has been thought, that certain instruments would naturally be inven[Pg 220]ted by men in particular states of society and under certain circumstances, as the result of their wants and the means at hand to supply them. It is not, however, always easy to reconcile this doctrine with facts. For example, the black race of the islands north of New Holland, (of which so little is yet known,) appear to require the use of the bow as much as any other savage people, yet they are entirely ignorant of it, though it has been thought one of the simple, most natural and most indispensable instruments in such a condition of society.

We are therefore left in doubt, in the present state of our knowledge, whether the manufacture and use of stone arrow heads have been so extensively diffused over the globe by repeated inventions, or by an intercourse between portions of the human race long since ceased, or by both causes. To whichever of these opinions we may incline, the subject must still appear to us worthy of investigation, as the history of these relics must necessarily be closely connected with that of different families and races of men in every continent and in every zone.

We would invite particular attention to the position and circumstances of Indian remains which may hereafter be found; and would express a wish that they might be recorded and made known. Our newspapers offer a most favorable vehicle for the communication of such discoveries and observations, and our editors generally must have taste and judgment enough to give room for them.

It was remarked in some of our publications a few years ago, that no unequivocal remains of the Red men had yet been discovered in the earth, below the most recent strata of soil, excepting cases in which they had been buried in graves, &c. Perhaps later observations may furnish evidence of the longer presence of that race on our continent than such a statement countenances.

One of the most interesting objects of enquiry, with some antiquaries, is whether there are any ancient indications of Alphabetical writing in our continent. A small stone found in the Grave-Creek Mound, and others of a more doubtful character, are quite sufficient to awaken interest and stimulate enquiry.

A few specimens of rude sculpture and drawing have been found in different parts of the U. States; and shells, ornaments, &c., evidently brought from great distances. There may be others, known to individuals, of which antiquaries are not aware. After perusing the foregoing pages, it will be easy to realize that all such remains may be worthy of attention. Not only copies should be made and dimensions taken, but descriptions should be written, local information and traditions collected, measures taken to preserve the originals, and some notice given which may reach persons interested in such subjects.

[Pg 221]


No. I.

The North American tribes have the elements of music and poetry. Their war songs frequently contain flights of the finest heroic sentiment, clothed in poetic imagery. And numbers of the addresses of the speakers, both occasional and public, abound in eloquent and poetic thought. "We would anticipate eloquence," observes a modern American writer, "from an Indian. He has animating remembrances—a poetry of language, which exacts rich and apposite metaphorical allusions, even for ordinary conversation—a mind which, like his body, has never been trammelled and mechanized by the formalities of society, and passions which, from the very outward restraint imposed upon them, burn more fiercely within." Yet, it will be found that the records of our literature, scattered as they are, in periodicals and ephemeral publications, rather than in works of professed research, are meagre and barren, on these topics. One of the first things we hear of the Indians, after their discovery, is their proneness to singing and dancing. But however characteristic these traits may be, and we think they are eminently so, it has fallen to the lot of but few to put on record specimens, which may be appealed to, as evidences of the current opinion, on these heads. With favourable opportunities of observation among the tribes, we have but to add our testimony to the difficulties of making collections in these departments, which shall not compromit the intellectual character of the tribes, whose efforts are always oral, and very commonly extemporaneous. These difficulties arise from the want of suitable interpreters, the remoteness of the points at which observations must be made, the heavy demands made upon hours of leisure or business by such inquiries, and the inconvenience of making notes and detailed memoranda on the spot. The little that it is in our power to offer, will therefore be submitted as contributions to an inquiry which is quite in its infancy, and rather with the hope of exciting others to future labours, than of gratifying, to any extent, an enlightened curiosity on the subject.

Dancing is both an amusement and a religious observance, among the American Indians, and is known to constitute one of the most wide spread traits in their manners and customs. It is accompanied, in all cases, with singing, and, omitting a few cases, with the beating of time on instruments. Tribes the most diverse in language, and situated at the greatest distances apart, concur in this. It is believed to be the ordinary mode of expressing intense passion, or feeling on any subject, and it is a custom[Pg 222] which has been persevered in, with the least variation, through all the phases of their history, and probably exists among the remote tribes, precisely at this time, as it did in the era of Columbus. It is observed to be the last thing abandoned by bands and individuals, in their progress to civilization and Christianity. So true is this, that it may be regarded as one of the best practical proofs of their advance, to find the native instruments and music thrown by, and the custom abandoned.

Every one has heard of the war dance, the medicine dance, the wabeno dance, the dance of honour (generally called the begging dance,) and various others, each of which has its appropriate movements, its air, and its words. There is no feast, and no religious ceremony, among them, which is not attended with dancing and songs. Thanks are thus expressed for success in hunting, for triumphs in war, and for ordinary providential cares. Public opinion is called to pressing objects by a dance, at which addresses are made, and in fact, moral instructions and advice are given to the young, in the course of their being assembled at social feasts and dances. Dancing is indeed the common resource, whenever the mass of Indian mind is to be acted on. And it thus stands viewed in its necessary connection with the songs and addresses, in the room of the press, the newspaper, and the periodical. The priests and prophets have, more than any other class, cultivated their national songs and dances, and may be regarded as the skalds and poets of the tribes. They are generally the composers of the songs, and the leaders in the dance and ceremonies, and it is found, that their memories are the best stored, not only with the sacred songs and chants, but also with the traditions, and general lore of the tribes.

Dancing is thus interwoven throughout the whole texture of Indian society, so that there is scarcely an event important or trivial, private or public, which is not connected, more or less intimately, with this rite. The instances where singing is adopted, without dancing, are nearly confined to occurrences of a domestic character. Among these, are wails for the dead, and love songs of a simple and plaintive character. Maternal affection evinces itself, by singing words, to a cheerful air, over the slumbers of the child, which, being suspended in a kind of cradle receives, at the same time a vibratory motion. Children have likewise certain chants, which they utter in the evenings, while playing around the lodge door, or at other seasons of youthful hilarity. Some of the Indian fables are in the shape of duets, and the songs introduced in narrating their fictitious tales, are always sung in the recital.

Their instruments of music are few and simple. The only wind instrument existing among them is the Pibbegwon, a kind of flute, resembling in simplicity the Arcadian pipe. It is commonly made of two semi-cylindrical pieces of cedar, united with fish glue, and having a snake skin, in a wet state, drawn tightly over it, to prevent its cracking. The holes[Pg 223] are eight in number, and are perforated by means of a bit of heated iron. It is blown like the flagolet, and has a similar orifice or mouth piece.

The Taywa´egun, (struck-sound-instrument,) is a tamborine, or one-headed drum, and is made by adjusting a skin to one end of the section of a moderate sized hollow tree. When a heavier sound is required, a tree of larger circumference is chosen, and both ends closed with skins. The latter is called Mittigwukeek, i.e. Wood-Kettle-Drum, and is appropriately used in religious ceremonies, but is not, perhaps, confined to this occasion.

To these may be added a fourth instrument, called the Sheshegwon, or Rattle, which is constructed in various ways, according to the purpose or means of the maker. Sometimes it is made of animal bladder, from which the name is derived, sometimes of a wild gourd; in others, by attaching the dried hoofs of the deer to a stick. This instrument is employed both to mark time, and to produce variety in sound.


Common as the Indian songs are, it is found to be no ordinary acquisition to obtain accurate specimens of them. Even after the difficulties of the notation have been accomplished, it is not easy to satisfy the requisitions of a correct taste and judgment, in their exhibition. There is always a lingering fear of misapprehension, or misconception, on the part of the interpreter—or of some things being withheld by the never sleeping suspicion, or the superstitious fear of disclosure, on the part of the Indian. To these must be added, the idiomatic and imaginative peculiarities of this species of wild composition—so very different from every notion of English versification. In the first place there is no unity of theme, or plot, unless it be that the subject, war for instance, is kept in the singer's mind. In the next place both the narration and the description, when introduced, is very imperfect, broken, or disjointed. Prominent ideas flash out, and are dropped. These are often most striking and beautiful, but we wait in vain for any sequence. A brief allusion—a shining symbol, a burst of feeling or passion, a fine sentiment, or a bold assertion, come in as so many independent parts, and there is but little in the composition to indicate the leading theme which is, as it were, kept in mental reserve, by the singer. Popular, or favourite expressions are often repeated, often transposed, and often exhibited with some new shade of meaning. The structure and flexibility of the language is highly favourable to this kind of wild improvisation. But it is difficult to translate, and next to impossible to preserve its spirit. Two languages more unlike in all their leading characteristics, than the English and the Indian were never brought into contact. The one monosyllabic, and nearly without inflections—the other polysyllabic, polysynthetic and so full of inflections[Pg 224] of every imaginative kind, as to be completely transpositive—the one from the north of Europe, the other, probably, from Central Asia, it would seem that these families of the human race, had not wandered wider apart, in their location, than they have in the sounds of their language, the accidence of their grammar and the definition of their words. So that to find equivalent single words in translation, appears often as hopeless as the quadrature of the circle.

The great store-house of Indian imagery is the heavens. The clouds, the planets, the sun, and moon, the phenomena of lightning, thunder, electricity, aerial sounds, electric or atmospheric, and the endless variety produced in the heavens by light and shade, and by elemental action,—these constitute the fruitful themes of allusion in their songs and poetic chants. But they are mere allusions, or broken description, like touches on the canvass, without being united to produce a perfect object. The strokes may be those of a master, and the colouring exquisite; but without the art to draw, or the skill to connect, it will still remain but a shapeless mass.

In war excursions great attention is paid to the flight of birds, particularly those of the carnivorous species, which are deemed typical of war and bravery, and their wing and tail feathers are appropriated as marks of honor, by the successful warrior. When the minds of a war party have been roused up to the subject, and they are prepared to give utterance to their feelings by singing and dancing, they are naturally led to appeal to the agency of this class of birds. Hence the frequent allusions to them, in their songs. The following stanza is made up of expressions brought into connection, from different fragments, but expresses no more than the native sentiments:

The eagles scream on high,
They whet their forked beaks,
Raise—raise the battle cry,
'Tis fame our leader seeks.

Generally the expressions are of an exalted and poetic character, but the remark before made of their efforts in song, being discontinuous and abrupt, apply with peculiar force to the war songs. To speak of a brave man—of a battle—or the scene of a battle, or of the hovering of birds of prey above it, appears sufficient to bring up to the warrior's mind, all the details consequent on personal bravery or heroic achievement. It would naturally be expected, that they should delight to dwell on scenes of carnage and blood: but however this may be, all such details are omitted or suppressed in their war songs, which only excite ideas of noble daring.

The birds of the brave take a flight round the sky,
They cross the enemy's line,
Full happy am I—that my body should fall,
Where brave men love to die.

[Pg 225]Very little effort in the collocation and expansion of some of their sentiments, would impart to these bold and unfettered rhapsodies, an attractive form, among polished war songs.

The strain in which these measures are sung, is generally slow and grave in its commencement and progress, and terminates in the highest note. While the words admit of change, and are marked by all the fluctuation of extempore composition, the air and the chorus appear to be permanent, consisting not only of a graduated succession of fixed sounds, but, always exact in their enunciation, their quantity, and their wild and startling musical expression. It has always appeared to me that the Indian music is marked by a nationality, above many other traits, and it is a subject inviting future attention. It is certain that the Indian ear is exact in noting musical sounds, and in marking and beating time. But little observation at their dances, will be sufficient to establish this fact. Nor is it less certain, by attention to the philology of their language, that they are exact in their laws of euphony, and syllabical quantity. How this remark may consist with the use of unmeasured and fluctuating poetry in their songs, it may require studied attention to answer. It is to be observed, however, that these songs are rather recited, or chanted, than sung. Increments of the chorus are not unfrequently interspersed, in the body of the line, which would otherwise appear deficient in quantity; and perhaps rules of metre may be found, by subsequent research, which are not obvious, or have been concealed by the scantiness of the materials, on this head, which have been examined. To determine the airs and choruses and the character of the music, will prove one of the greatest facilities to this inquiry. Most of the graver pieces, which have been written out, are arranged in metres of sixes, sevens, and eights. The lighter chants are in threes or fours, and consist of iambics and trochees irregularly. Those who have translated hymns into the various languages, have followed the English metres, not always without the necessity of elision, or employing constrained or crampt modes of expression. A worse system could not have been adopted to show Indian sentiment. The music in all these cases has been like fetters to the free, wild thoughts of the native singer. As a general criticism upon these translations, it may be remarked that they are often far from being literal, and often omit parts of the original. On the other hand, by throwing away adjectives, in a great degree, and dropping all incidental or side thoughts, and confining the Indian to the leading thought or sentiment, they are, sometimes, rendered more simple, appropriate, and effective. Finally, whatever cultivated minds among the Indians, or their descendants may have done, it is quite evident to me, from the attention I have been able to give the subject, that the native compositions were without metre. The natives appear to have sung a sufficient number of syllables to comply with the air, and effected the necessary pauses, for sense or sound, by either slurring over,[Pg 226] and thus shortening, or by throwing in floating particles of the language, to eke out the quantity, taken either from the chorus, or from the general auxiliary forms of the vocabulary.

Rhyme is permitted by the similarity of the sounds from which the vocabulary is formed, but the structure of the language does not appear to admit of its being successfully developed in this manner. Its forms are too cumbrous for regularly recurring expressions, subjected at once to the laws of metre and rhyme. The instances of rhyme that have been observed in the native songs are few, and appear to be the result of the fortuitous positions of words, rather than of art. The following juvenile see-saw is one of the most perfect specimens noticed, being exact in both particulars:

Ne osh im aun
Ne way be naun.

These are expressions uttered on sliding a carved stick down snow banks, or over a glazed surface of ice, in the appropriate season; and they may be rendered with nearly literal exactness, thus:

My sliding stick
I send quick—quick.

Not less accurate in the rhyme, but at lines of six and eight feet, which might perhaps be exhibited unbroken, is the following couplet of a war song:

Au pit she Mon e tög
Ne mud wa wa wau we ne gög.

The Spirit on high,
Repeats my warlike name.

In the translation of hymns, made during the modern period of missionary effort, there has been no general attempt to secure rhyme; and as these translations are generally due to educated natives, under the inspection and with the critical aid of the missionary, they have evinced a true conception of the genius of the language, by the omission of this accident. Eliot, who translated the psalms of David into the Massachusetts language, which were first printed in 1661, appears to have deemed it important enough to aim at its attainment: but an examination of the work, now before us, gives but little encouragement to others to follow his example, at least while the languages remain in their present rude and uncultivated state. The following is the XXIII Psalm from this version:

1. Mar teag nukquenaabikoo
shepse nanaauk God.
Nussepsinwahik ashkoshqut
nuttinuk ohtopagod
[Pg 227] 2. Nagum nukketeahog kounoh
wutomohkinuh wonk
Nutuss ∞unuk ut sampoi may
newutch ∞wesnonk.
3. Wutonkauhtamut pomushaon
mupp∞onk ∞nauhkoe
Woskehettuonk mo nukqueh tam∞
newutch k∞wetomah:
4. Kuppogkomunk kutanwohon
nish n∞nenehikquog
K∞noch∞ hkah anquabhettit
wame nummatwomog
5. Kussussequnum nuppuhkuk
weetepummee nashpea
Wonk woi God n∞tallamwaitch
pomponetupohs hau
6. ∞niyeuonk monaneteonk
Tohsohke pomantam wekit God
michem nuttain pish[20].

[20] Eliot employed the figure 8, set horizontally, to express a peculiar sound. Otherwise he used the English alphabet in its ordinary powers.

This appears to have been rendered from the version of the psalms appended to an old edition of King James' Bible of 1611, and not from the versification of Watts. By comparing it with this, as exhibited below, there will be found the same metre, eights and sixes, the same syllabical quantity, (if the notation be rightly conceived,) and the same coincidence of rhyme at the second and fourth lines of each verse; although it required an additional verse to express the entire psalm. It could therefore be sung to the ordinary tunes in use in Eliot's time, and, taken in connection with his entire version, including the Old and New Testament, evinces a degree of patient assiduity on the part of that eminent missionary, which is truly astonishing:

The Lord is my shepherd, I'll not want;
2. He makes me down to lie
In pastures green: he leadeth me
the quiet waters by.
3. My soul he doth restore again
and me to walk doth make
Within the paths of righteousness
E'en for his own name's sake.

[Pg 228]

4. Yea, though I walk in death's dark vale,
yet will I fear none ill;
For thou art with me and thy rod
and staff me comfort still.
5. My table thou hast furnished
in presence of my foes;
My head thou dost with oil annoint,
and my cup overflows.
6. Goodness and mercy all my life
shall surely follow me;
And in God's house forevermore
my dwelling place shall be.

The harmony of numbers has always detracted from the plain sense, and the piety of thought, of the scriptures, which is the probable cause of so many failures on the subject. In the instance of this Psalm, it will be observed, by a comparison, that Watts, who has so generally succeeded, does not come up, in any respect, to the full literal meaning of the original, which is well preserved, with the requisite harmony, in the old version.

There is one species of oral composition existing among all the tribes, which, from its peculiarities, deserves to be separately mentioned. I allude to the hieratic chants, choruses and incantations of their professed prophets, medicine men and jugglers—constituting, as these men do, a distinct order in Indian society, who are entitled by their supposed skill, wisdom or sanctity, to exercise the offices of a priesthood. Affecting mystery in the discharge of their functions, their songs and choruses are couched in language which is studiously obscure, oftentimes cabalistic, and generally not well understood by any but professed initiates.

Nothing, however, in this department of my inquiries, has opened a more pleasing view of society, exposed to the bitter vicissitudes of Indian life, than the little domestic chants of mothers, and the poetic see-saws of children, of which specimens are furnished. These show the universality of the sentiments of natural affection, and supply another proof, were any wanting, to demonstrate that it is only ignorance, indolence and poverty, that sink the human character, and create the leading distinctions among the races of men. Were these affections cultivated, and children early taught the principles of virtue and rectitude, and the maxims of industry, order and cleanliness, there is no doubt that the mass of Indian society would be meliorated in a comparatively short period; and by a continuance of efforts soon exalted from that state of degradation, of which the want of letters and religion have been the principal causes.

In presenting these specimens of songs, gathered among the recesses of the forest, it is hoped it will not be overlooked, by the reader, that they[Pg 229] are submitted as facts or materials, in the mental condition of the tribes, and not as evidences of attainment in the arts of metre and melody, which will bear to be admitted or even criticised by the side of the refined poetry of civilized nations. And above all, not as efforts to turn Indian sentiments to account, in original composition. No such idea is entertained. If materials be supplied from which some judgment may be formed of the actual state of these songs and rude oral compositions, or improvisations, the extent of the object will have been attained. But even here, there is less, with the exception of a single department, i.e. versification and composition by cultivated natives, than it was hoped to furnish. And this little, has been the result of a species of labour, in the collection, quite disproportionate to the result. It is hoped at least, that it may indicate the mode in which such collections may be made, among the tribes, and become the means of eliciting materials more worthy of attention.

This much seemed necessary to be said in introducing the following specimens, that there might not appear, to the reader, to be an undue estimate placed on the literary value of these contributions, and translations, while the main object is, to exhibit them in the series, as illustrations of the mental peculiarities of the tribes. To dismiss them, however, with a bare, frigid word for word translation, such as is required for the purposes of philological comparison, would by no means do justice to them, nor convey, in any tolerable degree, the actual sentiments in the minds of the Indians. That the opposite error might not, at the same time, be run into, and the reader be deprived altogether of this means of comparison, a number of the pieces are left with literal prose translations, word for word as near as the two languages will permit. Others exhibit both a literal, and a versified translation.

All the North American Indians know that there is a God; but their priests teach them that the devil is a God, and as he is believed to be very malignant, it is the great object of their ceremonies and sacrifices, to appease him.

The Indians formerly worshipped the Sun, as the symbol of divine intelligence.

Fire is an unexplained mystery to the Indian; he regards it as a connecting link between the natural and spiritual world. His traditionary lore denotes this.

Zoroaster says: "When you behold secret fire, without form, shining flashingly through the depths of the whole world—hear the voice of fire." One might suppose this to have been uttered by a North American Indian.

[Pg 230]


In the hot summer evenings, the children of the Chippewa Algonquins, along the shores of the upper lakes, and in the northern latitudes, frequently assemble before their parents' lodges, and amuse themselves by little chants of various kinds, with shouts and wild dancing. Attracted by such shouts of merriment and gambols, I walked out one evening, to a green lawn skirting the edge of the St. Mary's river, with the fall in full view, to get hold of the meaning of some of these chants. The air and the plain were literally sparkling with the phosphorescent light of the fire-fly. By dint of attention, repeated on one or two occasions, the following succession of words was caught. They were addressed to this insect:

Wau wau tay see! Wau wau tay see! E mow e shin Tshe bwau ne baun-e wee! Be eghaun—be eghaun—ewee! Wa wau tay see! Wa wau tay see! Was sa koon ain je gun Was sa koon ain je gun.


Flitting-white-fire-insect! waving-white-fire-bug! give me light before I go to bed! give me light before I go to sleep. Come, little dancing[21] white-fire-bug! Come little flitting-white-fire-beast! Light me with your bright white-flame-instrument—your little candle[22].

[21] In giving the particle wa, the various meanings of "flitting," "waving," and "dancing," the Indian idiom is fully preserved. The final particle see, in the term wa wa tai see, is from the generic root asee, meaning a living creature, or created form, not man. By prefixing Ahw to the root, we have the whole class of quadrupeds, and by pen, the whole class of birds, &c. The Odjibwa Algonquin term for a candle, was sa koon ain je gun, is literally rendered from its elements—"bright—white—flamed—instrument." It is by the very concrete character of these compounds that so much meaning results from a few words, and so considerable a latitude in translation is given to Indian words generally.

[22]Fire-fly, fire-fly! bright little thing,
Light me to bed, and my song I will sing.
Give me your light, as you fly o'er my head,
That I may merrily go to my bed.
Give me your light o'er the grass as you creep,
That I may joyfully go to my sleep.
Come little fire-fly—come little beast—
Come! and I'll make you to-morrow a feast. Come little candle that flies as I sing,
Bright little fairy-bug—night's little king;
Come, and I'll dance as you guide me along,
Come, and I'll pay you, my bug, with a song.

Metre there was none, at least, of a regular character: they were the wild improvisations of children in a merry mood.

[Pg 231]




A prospectus for this work was issued in 1842. While the title is slightly modified, the design and plan of its execution have not been essentially changed. The principal object aimed at, under the general idea of the history and geography of the Aboriginal Race, is to furnish a general and standard reference-book, or short encyclopædia of topics relative to the entire race, alphabetically arranged. By the insertion of the name of each family of tribes, nation, sub-tribe, or important clan, the occasion will be presented of noticing the leading or characteristic events, in their history, numbers, government, religion, languages, arts or distinctive character.

Where the scene or era of their expansion, growth and decay has been so extensive, embracing as it does, the widest bounds and remotest periods, their antiquities have also called for a passing notice. Nor could any thing like a satisfactory accomplishment of the plan be effected, without succinct notices of the lives and achievements of their principal chiefs, rulers, and leading personages.

Language is an important means of denoting the intricate thread of history in savage nations. Mr. Pritchard considers it more important than physiological structure and peculiarities. It is, at least, found often to reveal ethnological affinities, where both the physical type, and the light of tradition, afford but little aid. The words and names of a people, are so many clues to their thoughts and intellectual structure; this branch of the subject, indeed, formed the original germ of the present plan, which was at first simply geographical, and has been rather expanded and built upon, than, if we may so say, supplied the garniture of the edifice. In a class of transpositive languages, which are very rich in their combinations, and modes of concentrated description, it must needs happen, that the names of places would often recall both associations and descriptions of deep[Pg 232] interest in contemplating the fate and fortunes of this unfortunate race. Without intruding upon the reader disquisitions which would be out of place, no opportunity has been omitted, from the consideration of their names, to throw around the sites of their former or present residence, this species of interest.

But half the work would have been done, it is conceived, to have confined the work to North America; and it must necessarily have lost, by such a limitation, more than half its interest. We are just beginning in truth to comprehend the true character and bearing of that unique type of civilization which existed in Mexico, Peru, and Yucatan. The rude hand with which these embryo kingdoms of the native race were overturned, in consequence of their horrid idolatries, necessarily led to the destruction of much of their monumental, and so far as their picture writing reached, some of their historical materials, of both of which, we now feel the want. It is some relief, to know, as the researches of Mr. Gallatin, which are now in progress, demonstrate, that by far the greatest amount of the ancient Mexican picture writings, as they are embraced in the elaborate work of Lord Kingsborough, relate to their mythology and superstitions, and are of no historical value whatever. And if the portions destroyed in the Mexican and Peruvian conquests, were as liberally interspersed with similar evidences of their wild polytheism, shocking manners, and degraded worship, neither chronology nor history have so much to lament.

The early, strong and continued exertions which were made by the conquerors to replace this system of gross superstition and idolatry, by the Romish ritual, filled Mexico and South America with missions of the Catholic Church, which were generally under the charge of zealous and sometimes of learned and liberal-spirited superintendants, who have accumulated facts respecting the character and former condition of the race. These missions, which were generally spread parallel to the sea coasts of the Atlantic and Pacific, reaching inland along the banks of the great rivers and plains, have confessedly done much to ameliorate the manners and condition of the native race, to foster a spirit of industry, and to enlighten their minds. Still, it is scarcely known, that numerous and powerful tribes, stretching through wide districts of the Andes and the Cordilleras, never submitted to the conqueror, and yet exist in their original state of barbarism.

In this department of inquiry, the geographical and historical work of De Alcedo, which, so far as the Spanish and Portuguese missions are concerned, is both elaborate and complete in its details, has been taken as a basis. No one can write of South America and its native tribes, without reference to Humboldt. Other standard writers have been consulted, to give this part of the work as much value as possible, not excepting the latest voyages and travels. The design has been, without aiming at too[Pg 233] much, to compress a body of leading and characteristic facts, in the shortest practicable compass, which should, at the same time, present an ethnological view of the various families and groups of the race.

In each department of inquiry, which admitted of it, the author has availed himself of such sources and opportunities of personal observation and experience, as his long residence in the Indian territories, and his study of the Indian history have afforded. And he is not without the hope, that his inquiries and researches on this head may be found to be such as to merit approval.


Ab, often pronounced with the sound of we, before it,—a particle which, in geographical names, in the family of the Algonquin dialects, denotes light, or the east. It is also the radix of the verb wab, to see, as well as of the derivatives, a-ab, an eye-ball, and wabishka, a white substance, &c.,—ideas which either in their origin or application, are closely allied.

Abacaris, a settlement of Indians in the Portuguese possessions of the province of Amazon. These people derive their name from a lake, upon which they reside. It is a peculiarity of this lake, that it has its outlet into the river Madiera which, after flowing out of the province turns about and again enters it, forming, in this involution, the large and fertile island of Topanambes. This tribe is under the instruction of the Carmelites. They retain many of their early peculiarities of manners and modes of life. They subsist by the cultivation of maize, and by taking fish in the waters of the Abacaris; or Abacactes in addition to these means, they rely upon tropical fruits. The latest notices of them come down to 1789. But little is known of their numbers, or present condition.

Abaches, or Apaches, an erratic tribe of Indians, who infest the prairies of western Texas and New Mexico. They are supposed by some, to consist of not less than 15,000 souls. They are divided into petty bands, known under various names. They are the most vagrant of all the wild hunter tribes of the general area denoted. They do not live in fixed abodes, but shift about in search of game or plunder, and are deemed a pest by the Santa Fe traders. They raise nothing and manufacture nothing. Those of them who are east of the Rio del Norte, subsist on the baked root of the mauguey, and a similar plant called Mezcal, and hence they are called Mezcaleros.

Another division of them, and by far the greatest, rove west of that stream, where they are called Coyoteros, from their habit of eating the coyote, or prairie wolf. They extend west into California and Sonora. They bear a bad character wherever they are known. If on the outskirts[Pg 234] of the ranches and haciendas, they steal cattle and sheep. If on the wide and destitute plains which they traverse, they thieve and murder. Sometimes they are pursued and punished; more frequently, they escape. The Mexican authorities keep some sort of terms with them by treaties, which the vagrants, however, break and disregard, whenever they are excited by hunger, or the lust of plunder. For Indians bearing the name, formerly from the U. States, see Apaches.

Abaco, one of the Bahama islands. The native inhabitants of this, and the adjacent groups of islands, were, early after the discovery, transported to the main, to work in the mines. In 1788 this island, known to nautical men as the locality of the Hole in the Wall, had a population of 50 whites, and 200 Africans.

Abacooche, or Coosa, a stream rising in Georgia. It flows into Alabama, and after uniting with the Tallapoosa, a few miles below Wetumpka it forms the Alabama river. The word is, apparently, derived from Oscooche, one of the four bands into which the Muscogees, were anciently divided.

Abanakee, or Eastlanders, a distinct people, consisting of a plurality of tribes, who formerly occupied the extreme north eastern part of the United States. The word is variously written by early writers. See Abenakies, Abernaquis, Wabunakies.

Abancay, the capital of a province of the same name 20 leagues from Cuzco, in Peru. It is memorable for the victories gained in the vicinity by the king's troops in 1542 and 1548 against Gonzalo Pizarro. It lies in a rich and spacious valley, which was inhabited by the subjects of the Inca, on the conquest.

Abasca, or Rabasca, a popular corruption, in the northwest, of Athabasca, which see.

Abases, an unreclaimed nation of Indians, living in the plains of St. Juan, to the north of the Orinoco, in New Grenada. They are of a docile character, and good disposition, lending a ready ear to instruction, but have not embraced the Catholic religion. They inhabit the wooded shores of the river, and shelter themselves from the effects of a tropical sun, in the open plains, by erecting their habitations in the small copse-wood. They are bounded towards the west, by the Andaquies and Caberras, and east by the Salivas.

Abangoui, a large settlement of the Guarani nation of Indians, on the shores of the river Taquani, in Paraguay. This stream and its inhabitants were discovered by A. Numez, in 1541.

Abecoochi, see Abacooche.

Abeicas, an ancient name for a tribe of Indians, in the present area of the United States, who are placed in the earlier geographies, south of the Alabamas and west of the Cherokees. They dwelt at a distance from the large rivers, yet were located in the districts of the cane, out of the hard[Pg 235] substance of which they made a kind of knife, capable of answering the principal purposes of this instrument. They were at enmity with the Iroquois.

Abenakies, a nation formerly inhabiting a large part of the territorial area of the states of New Hampshire and Maine. There were several tribes, of this nation the principal of which were the Penobscots, the Norredgewocks, and the Ameriscoggins. They were at perpetual hostilities with the New England colonists. They had received missionaries, at an early day, from the French in Canada, and acted in close concert with the hostile Indians from that quarter. At length in 1724, the government of Massachusetts organized an effective expedition against them, which ascended the Kennebec, attacked the chief town of the Norredgewocks, and killed a large number of their bravest warriors. Among the slain, was found their missionary Sebastian Rasle, who had taken up arms in their defence. There was found, among his papers, a copious vocabulary of the language, which has recently been published under the supervision of Mr. Pickering. In the year 1754, all the Abenakies, except the Penobscots, removed into Canada. This nation had directed their attention, almost exclusively, to hunting. At the mouth of the Kennebec they absolutely planted nothing. Their language, as observed by Mr. Gallatin, has strong affinities with those of the Etchemins, and of the Micmacs, of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia; there are fewer resemblances in its vocabulary to the dialects south of them. This nation appears to have been called Tarrenteens, by the New England Indians. Their generic name for themselves, if they had one, is unknown. The term Abenakie, is one manifestly imposed by Algonquin tribes living west and south of them. It is derived from wabanung, the east, or a place of light, and akee, land.

Abekas, a name applied, so late as 1750, to a band of the Muscogees, living on the river Tombigbee, within the present area of Alabama.

Abernaquis, a settlement of the expatriated Abenakies of New England, in Lower Canada. They subsist themselves at this time in a great measure by agriculture, and manifest a disposition to improve. From a report made in 1839 by the American Board of Foreign missions of Boston who employ a missionary and teacher among them, sixty persons attend Protestant worship, of which number, 24 are church members. Twenty of the youth attend a daily school.

Abigiras, an Indian mission formerly under the charge of the order of Jesuits, in the governmental department of Quito. It is situated on the river Curasari, 30 leagues from its mouth, and 240 from Quito. It was founded in 1665 by father Lorenzo Lucero.

Abingas, or Wabingas, a name for a band, or sub-tribe of the River Indians, of the Mohegan, or Mohekinder stock, who formerly inhabited the present area of Dutchess county, N.Y., and some adjacent parts of the eastern shores of the Hudson, above the Highlands.

[Pg 236]Abipones, an unreclaimed nation of Indians, who inhabit the south shores of the river Bermejo, in the province of Tucuman, Buenos Ayres. This nation is said, perhaps vaguely, to have formerly numbered 100,000 souls, but was, at the last accounts, about A.D. 1800, much reduced. They present some peculiar traits, living as nearly in a state of nature as possible. The men go entirely naked, subsisting themselves by hunting and fishing, and passing much of their time in idleness or war. The women wear little ornamented skins called queyapi. Physically, the people are well formed, of a lofty stature and bearing, robust and good featured. They paint their bodies profusely, and take great pains to inspire hardihood. For this purpose they cut and scarify themselves from childhood; they esteem tiger's flesh one of the greatest dainties, believing its properties to infuse strength and valor. In war they are most cruel, sticking their captives on the top of high poles, where, exposed to the scorching rays of the sun, they are left to die the most horrid death.

They have no knowledge of God, of laws, or of policy, yet they believe in the immortality of the soul, and in a land of future bliss, where dancing and diversions shall prevail. Widows observe celibacy for a year, during which time they abstain from fish. The females occupy themselves in sewing hides, or spinning rude fabrics. When the men are intoxicated—a prevalent vice—they conceal their husbands' knives to prevent assassinations. They rear but two or three children, killing all above this number.

Abisca, an extensive mountainous territory of Peru, lying between the Yetau and Amoramago rivers, east of the Andes, noted from the earliest times, for the number of barbarous nations who occupy it. It is a wild and picturesque region, abounding in forests, lakes and streams, and affording facilities for the chase, and means of retreat from civilization, so congenial to savage tribes. An attempt to subjugate these fierce tribes made by Pedro de Andia in 1538, failed. The same result had attended the efforts of the emperor Yupanqui.

Abitanis, a mountain in the province of Lipas, in Peru. In the Quetchuan tongue, it signifies the ore of gold, from a mine of this metal, which is now nearly abandoned.

Abittibi, the name of one of the tributaries of Moose River, of James' Bay, Canada. Also a small lake in Canada West, near the settlement of Frederick, in north latitude 48°, 35' and west longitude 82°: also, a lake north of lake Nepissing, in the direction to Moose Fort. It is a term, apparently derived from nibee, water, and wab, light.

Abitigas, a fierce and warlike nation of Indians, in the province of Tarma in Peru, of the original Quetche stock. They are situated 60 leagues to the east of the Andes. They are barbarians, roving from place to place, without habits of industry, and delighting in war. They are numerous, as well as warlike; but like all the non-agricultural tribes of[Pg 237] the region, they are often in want and wretchedness. They are bounded on the south by their enemies the Ipilcos.

Abo, Abouor Michabo, or the Great Hare, a personage rather of mythological, than historical note, in the traditions of the Lake Algonquin tribes. It is not clear, although probable, that he is to be regarded as identical with Manabosho, or Nanabosho.

Abojeeg, a celebrated war and hereditary chief of the Chippewa nation, who flourished during the last century; more commonly written Wabojeeg, which see.

Abraham, a chief of the Mohawks, who, after the fall of king Hendrick, so called, at the battle of lake George, in 1755, between the English and French armies, became the ruling chief of that nation. He was the younger brother of Hendrick, and lived at the lower Mohawk Castle. He was of small stature, but shrewd and active, and a fluent speaker. Numbers of his speeches are preserved, which he delivered, as the ruling chief of his tribe, in various councils, during the stormy era of 1775, which eventuated in the American revolution. In the events of that era, his name soon disappears: as he was then a man of advanced years, he probably died at his village. It is not known that he excelled in war, and, at all events, he was succeeded, about this time, in fame and authority, by a new man in the chieftainship, who rose in the person of Thyendanegea, better known as Joseph Brant. Abraham, or little Abraham, as he was generally called, appears from his speeches and policy, to have thoroughly adopted the sentiments and policy of Sir William Johnson, of whom, with his tribe generally, he was the friend and admirer. He was, as his speeches disclose, pacific in his views, cautious in policy, and not inclined, it would seem, to rush headlong into the great contest, which was then brewing, and into which, his popular successor, Brant, went heart and hand. With less fame than his elder brother Hendrick, and with no warlike reputation, yet without imputation upon his name, in any way, he deserves to be remembered as a civilian and chieftain, who bore a respectable rank; as one of a proud, high spirited, and important tribe. Little Abraham was present at the last and final council of the Mohawks, with the American Commissioners, at Albany, in September 1775, and spoke for them on this occasion—which is believed to have been the last peaceable meeting between the Americans and the Mohawk tribe, prior to the war.

[Pg 238][Note.—Accents are placed over all words of North American origin, when known. Vowels preceding a consonant, or placed between two consonants, are generally short: following a consonant, or ending a syllable or word, they are generally long. Diphthongs are used with their ordinary power.]

Absecon, a beach of the sea coast of New Jersey, sixteen miles south-west of Little Egg Harbor. The word is a derivative from Wabisee, a Swan, and Ong, a Place.

Absoróka, a name for the Minnetaree tribe of Indians on the river Missouri. They are philologically of the Dacotah family. See Minnetaree.

Abucees, a mission of the Sucumbias Indians, in the province of Quixos, Quito, which was founded by the order of Jesuits. It is situated on the shores of a small river, which enters the Putumago, in north latitude 0° 36' longitude 79° 2' west.

Aburra, a town, in a rich valley of the same name, in New Grenada, discovered in 1540, by Robledo. In its vicinity are found many huacas, or sepulchres of the Indians, in which great riches, such as gold ornaments, are found deposited. There are, in the vicinity, some streams of saline water, from which the Indians manufacture salt.

Abwoin, or Bwoin, a name of the Chippewas, Ottawas, and other modern Algonquin tribes of the upper Lakes, for the Dacotah or Sioux nation. It is rendered plural in ug. The word is derived from abwai, a stick used to roast meat, and is said to have been given to this tribe, in reproach from the ancient barbarities practised towards their prisoners taken captive in war. For an account of this tribe, see Dacotah and Sioux.

Abwoinac; Abwoina: Terms applied to the general area between the Mississippi and Missouri, lying north of the St. Peter's, occupied by Sioux tribes. In the earlier attempts of Lord Selkirk, to plant a colony in parts of this region, the compound term Assinaboina, was, to some extent, but unsuccessfully employed. The two former terms are derivatives from Abwoin, a Sioux, and akee, earth; the latter has the prefix assin, (ossin,) a stone.

Acaquato, a settlement of Indians in the district of Tancitars, in Peru, reduced in 1788, to fifteen families, who cultivated maize and vegetables.

Acambaro, a settlement of 490 families of Indians, and 80 of Mustees,[Pg 239] belonging to the order of St. Francis, in the district of Zelaya, in the province and bishopric of Mechoacan, seven leagues S. of its capital.

Acamistlahuac, a settlement of 30 Indian families in the district of Tasco, attached to the curacy of its capital, from whence it is two leagues E.N.E.

Achamuchitlan, a settlement of 60 families of Indians in the district of Texopilco, and civil division of Zultepec. They sell sugar and honey—the district also produces maize and vegetables. It is 5 leagues N. of its head settlement.

Acantepec, the head settlement of Tlapa, embracing 92 Indian families, including another small settlement in its vicinity, all of whom maintain themselves by manufacturing cotton stuffs.

Acapetlahuala, a settlement of 180 Indian families, being the principal settlement of the district of Escateopan, and civil district of Zaquaepa.

Acari, a settlement in a beautiful and extensive valley of Camana, in Peru, noted for a lofty mountain called Sahuacario, on the skirts of which the native Indians had constructed two fortresses, prior to their subjugation by the Spanish. This mountain is composed of "misshapen stones, and sand," and is reported, at certain times of the year to emit loud sounds, as if proceeding from pent up air, and it is thought to have, in consequence, attracted the superstitious regard of the ancient Indian inhabitants.

Acatepec. There are five Indian settlements of this name, in Spanish America.

1. A settlement comprising 860 Indian families, of the order of St. Francis, in the district of Thehuacan. Forty of these families live on cultivated estates stretching a league in a spacious valley, four leagues S.S.W. of the capital.

2. A settlement in the district of Chinantla, in the civil jurisdiction of Cogamaloapan. It is situated in a pleasant plain, surrounded by three lofty mountains. The number of its inhabitants is reduced. The Indians who live on the banks of a broad and rapid river, which intercepts the great road to the city of Oxaca, and other jurisdictions, support themselves by ferrying over passengers in their barks and canoes. It is 10 leagues W. of its head settlement.

3. A settlement of 100 Indian families, in the same kingdom, situated between two high ridges. They are annexed to the curacy of San Lorenzo, two leagues off.

4. A settlement of 39 Indian families annexed to, and distant one league and a half N. of the curacy of Tlacobula. It is in a hot valley, skirted by a river, which is made to irrigate the gardens and grounds on its borders.

5. A settlement of 12 Indian families in the mayorate of Xicayun of the same kingdom.

Acatepeque, St. Francisco, De, a settlement of 140 Indian families in[Pg 240] the mayorate of St. Andres de Cholula, situated half a league S. of its capital.

Acatlan, six locations of Indians exist, under this name, in Mexico.

1. A settlement of 850 families of Indians in the alcaldia of this name, embracing some 20 Spaniards and Mustees. In the vicinity are some excellent salt grounds. The climate is of a mild temperature, and the surrounding country is fertile, abounding in fruits, flowers, and pulse, and is well watered. It is 55 leagues E.S.E. of Mexico.

2. A settlement of 180 Indian families in Xalapa of the same kingdom, (now republic.) It occupies a spot of clayey ground of a cold moist temperature, in consequence of which, and its being subject to N. winds, fruits, in this neighbourhood, do not ripen. Other branches of cultivation succeed from the abundance of streams of water, and their fertilizing effects on the soil. This settlement has the dedicatory title of St. Andres.

3. San Pedro, in the district of Malacatepec, and alcaldia of Nexapa. It contains 80 Indian families, who trade in wool, and the fish called bobo, which are caught, in large quantities, in a considerable river of the district.

4. Zitlala. It consists of 198 Indian families, and is a league and a half N. of its head settlement of this name.

5. Sentepec, a settlement 15 leagues N.E. of its capital. The temperature is cold. It has 42 Indian families.

6. Atotonilco, in the alcaldia mayor of Tulanzingo. It contains 115 Indian families, and has a convent of the religious order of St. Augustine. It is 2 leagues N. of its head settlement.

Acatlanzingo, a settlement of 67 Indian families of Xicula of the alcaldia mayor of Nexapa, who employ themselves in the culture of cochineal plants. It lies in a plain, surrounded on all sides by mountains.

Acaxee, a nation of Indians in the province of Topia. They are represented to have been converted to the catholic faith by the society of Jesuits in 1602. They are docile and of good dispositions and abilities. One of their ancient customs consisted of bending the heads of their dead to their knees, and in this posture, putting them in caves, or under a rock and at the same time, depositing a quantity of food for their supposed journey in another state. They also exhibited a farther coincidence with the customs of the northern Indians, by placing a bow and arrows with the body of the dead warrior, for his defence. Should an Indian woman happen to die in child-bed, they put the surviving infant to death, as having been the cause of its mother's decease. This tribe rebelled against the Spanish in 1612, under the influence of a native prophet, but they were subdued by the governor of the province, Don Francisco de Ordinola.

Acaxete, Santa Maria de, the head settlement of the district of Tepcaca, on the slope of the sierra of Tlascala. It consists of 176 Mexican Indians,[Pg 241] 7 Spanish families, and 10 Mustees and Mulatoes. In its vicinity there is a reservoir of hewn stone, to catch the waters of the mountain, which are thence conducted to Tepcaca, three leagues N.N.W.

Acaxuchitlan, a curacy consisting of 406 Indian families of the bishopric of La Peubla de los Angelos. It is in the alcaldia of Tulanzingo, lying 4 leagues E. of its capital.

Acayuca, the capital of a civil division of New Spain, in the province of Goazacoalco, embracing, in its population, 296 families of Indians, 30 of Spaniards, and 70 of mixed bloods. It lies a little over 100 leagues S.E. of Mexico, in lat. 17° 53' N.

Acazingo, St. Juan de, a settlement of the district of Tepcaca, consisting of 700 families of Indians, 150 of Spaniards, 104 of Mustees, and 31 of Mulatoes. It is situated in a plain of mild temperature, well watered, and has a convent and fountain, and a number of "very ancient buildings."

Accócesaws, a tribe of Indians of erratic habits, of Texas, whose principal location was formerly on the west side of the Colorado, about 200 miles S.W. of Nacogdoches. At a remoter period they lived near the gulf of Mexico: they made great use of fish, and oysters. Authors represent the country occupied, or traversed by them, as exceedingly fertile and beautiful, and abounding in deer of the finest and largest kind. Their language is said to be peculiar to themselves; they are expert in communicating ideas by the system of signs. About A.D. 1750 the Spanish had a mission among them, but removed it to Nacogdoches.

Accomac, a county of Virginia, lying on the eastern shores of Chesapeak bay. This part of the sea coast was inhabited by the Nanticokes, who have left their names in its geography. We have but a partial vocabulary of this tribe, which is now extinct. It has strong analogies, however, to other Algonquin dialects. Aco, in these dialects, is a generic term, to denote a goal, limit, or fixed boundary. Ahkee, in the Nanticoke, is the term for earth, or land. Auk, is a term, in compound words of these dialects, denoting wood. The meaning of accomac, appears to be as far as the woods reach, or, the boundary between meadow and woodlands.

Accomacs, one of the sub tribes inhabiting the boundaries of Virginia on its discovery and first settlement. Mr. Jefferson states their numbers in 1607 at 80. In 1669, when the legislature of Virginia directed a census of the Indian population, within her jurisdiction, there appears no notice of this tribe. They inhabited the area of Northampton county. They were Nanticokes—a people whose remains united themselves or at least took shelter with the Lenapees, or Delawares.

Accohanocs, a division or tribe of the Powhetanic Indians, numbering 40, in 1607. They lived on the Accohanoc river, in eastern Virginia.

[Pg 242]Accomentas, a band, or division of the Pawtucket Indians inhabiting the northerly part of Massachusetts in 1674. (Gookin.)

Achagua, a nation of Indians of New Grenada, dwelling in the plains of Gazanare and Meta, and in the woods of the river Ele. They are bold and dexterous hunters with the dart and spear, and in their contests with their enemies, they poison their weapons. They are fond of horses, and rub their bodies with oil, to make their hair shine. They go naked except a small azeaun made of the fibres of the aloe. They anoint their children with a bituminous ointment at their birth, to prevent the growth of hair. The brows of females are also deprived of hair, and immediately rubbed with the juice of jagua, which renders them bald ever after. They are of a gentle disposition but addicted to intoxication. The Jesuits formerly reduced many of them to the Catholic faith, and formed them into settlements in 1661.

Achafalaya, the principal western outlet of the Mississippi river. It is a Choctaw word, meaning, "the long river," from hucha, river, and falaya, long. (Gallatin.)

Ackoways, a synonym for a band of Indians of New France, now Canada. See Acouez.

Ackeekseebe, a remote northern tributary of the stream called Rum river, which enters the Mississippi, some few miles above the falls of St. Anthony, on its left banks. It is a compound phrase, from Akeek, a kettle, and seebe, a stream. It was on the margin of this stream, in a wide and spacious area, interspersed with beaver ponds, that a detachment of Gen. Cass's exploring party in July 1820, encamped; and the next morning discovered an Indian pictorial letter, written on bark, detailing the incidents of the march.

Ackeeko, or the Kettle chief, a leading Sauc chief who exercised his authority in 1820, at an important Indian village, situated on the right banks of the Mississippi, at Dubuque's mines.

Achquanchicóla, the name of a creek in Pennsylvania; it signifies in the Delaware or Lenapee language, as given by Heckewelder, the brush-net fishing creek.

Achwick, a small stream in central Pennsylvania. It denotes in the Delaware language, according to Heckewelder, brushy, or difficult to pass.

Acobamba, a settlement in the province of Angaraes in Peru, near which are some monumental remains of the ancient race, who inhabited the country prior to its conquest by the Spanish. They consist, chiefly, of a pyramid of stones, and the ruins of some well sculptured stone couches, or benches, now much injured by time.

Acolman, San Augustin de, a settlement of 240 families of Indians of Tezcoco in Mexico. It is situated in a pleasant valley, with a benign temperature, and has a convent of Augustine monks.

[Pg 243]Acomes, a fall in the river Amariscoggin, Maine, denoting, in the Indian, as is supposed, a rest, or place of stopping. From aco, a bound or point.

Acomulco, a village of 12 Indian families in Zochicoatlan, New Spain, two leagues W. of its capital.

Aconichi, the name of a settlement of Indians formerly living on the river Eno, in North Carolina.

Acotitlan, a settlement of 15 Indian families, in the alcaldia of Autlan, Mexico. They employ themselves in raising cattle, making sugar and honey, and extracting oil from the cacao fruit.

Acouez, a name formerly applied by the French to a band of Indians in New France. Believed to be identical with Ackoways.

Acquackinac, or Acquackinunk, the Indian name of a town on the W. side of the Passaic river, New Jersey, ten miles N. of Newark and 17 from New York. From aco, a limit, misquak, a red cedar, and auk, a stump or trunk of a tree.

Acquinoshiónee, or United People, the vernacular name of the Iroquois for their confederacy. It appears, from their traditions, communicated to the Rev. Mr. Pyrlaus, a Dutch missionary of early date, that this term had not been in use above 50 years prior to the first settlement of the country: and if so, we have a late date, not more remote than 1559 for the origin of this celebrated union. But this may be doubted. Cartier discovered the St. Lawrence in 1534, and found them at the site of Montreal; Verrizani, is said to have entered the bay of New York ten years before. Hudson entered the river in 1609. Jamestown was founded the year before. The Pilgrims landed at Plymouth 14 years later. It is more probable that the 50 years should be taken from the period of the earlier attempts of the French settlements, which would place the origin of the confederacy about A.D. 1500. (See Iroquois.)

Actopan, or Octupan, a town and settlement of the Othomies Indians, situated 23 leagues N.N.E. of Mexico. Its population is put by Alcedo in 1787, at 2750 families. These are divided into two parties, separated by the church. It also contains 50 families of Spaniards, Mustees, and Mulatoes. The temperature is mild, but the ground is infested with the cactus, thorns and teasel, which leads the inhabitants to devote their attention to the raising of sheep and goats. In this vicinity are found numbers of the singular bird, called zenzontla by the Mexican Indians.

Actupan, a settlement of 210 families of Indians in the district of Xocimilco, Mexico.

Acuiapan, a settlement of 58 Indian families, in the alcaldia mayor of Zultepec, annexed to the curacy of Temascaltepec. They live by dressing hides for the market—ib.

Acuilpa, a settlement of 92 Indian families, in the magistracy of Tlapa, Mexico. It is of a hot and moist temperature, yielding grain, and the white medicinal earth called chia, in which they carry on a trade.

[Pg 244]Acuio, a considerable settlement of Spaniards, Mustees, Mulatoes, and Negroes, 30 leagues W. of Cinaqua, in the curacy of Tauricato, Mexico; embracing 9 Indian families.

Acula, San Pedro de, an Indian settlement of 305 families, four leagues E. of Cozamaloapan, its capital. It is situated on a high hill, bounded by a large lake of the most salubrious water, called Peutla by the natives. This lake has its outlet into the sea through the sand banks of Alvarado, and the lake is subject to overflow its banks in the winter season.

Acutitlan, an Indian settlement of 45 families, in the district of Tepuxilco, Mexico, who trade in sugar, honey, and maize. It is five leagues N.E. of Zultepec, and a quarter of a league from Acamuchitlan.

Acutzio, an Indian settlement of Tiripitio, in the magistracy of Valladolid, and bishopric of Mechoacan, Mexico. It contains 136 Indian families, and 11 families of Spaniards and Mustees. Six cultivated estates in this district, producing wheat, maize, and other grains, employ most of this population, who also devote part of their labour to the care of large and small cattle.

Adaes, or Adaize, a tribe of Indians, who formerly lived forty miles south west from Natchitoches, in the area of country, which now constitutes a part of the republic of Texas. They were located on a lake, which communicates with the branch of Red-river passing Bayou Pierre. This tribe appears to have lived at that spot, from an early period. Their language is stated to be difficult of acquisition, and different from all others, in their vicinity. They were at variance with the ancient Natchez, and joined the French in their assault upon them in 1798. They were intimate with the Caddoes, and spoke their language. At the last dates (1812,) they were reduced to twenty men, with a disproportionate number of women. The synonyms for this now extinct tribe are, Adayes; Adees; Adaes; Adaize.

Adario, a celebrated chief of the Wyandot nation, who was at the height of his usefulness and reputation, about 1690. He was able in the councils of his tribe, shrewd and wily in his plans, and firm and courageous in their execution. The Wyandots, or Hurons as they are called by the French, were then living at Michilimackinac, to which quarter they had been driven by well known events in their history. The feud between them and their kindred, the Iroquois, still raged. They remained the firm allies of the French; but they were living in a state of expatriation from their own country, and dependent on the friendship and courtesy of the Algonquins of the upper lakes, among whom they had found a refuge. Adario, at this period, found an opportunity of making himself felt, and striking a blow for the eventual return of his nation.

To understand his position, a few allusions to the history of the period are necessary.

In 1687, the English of the province of New York, resolved to avail[Pg 245] themselves of a recent alliance between the two crowns, to attempt a participation in the fur trade of the upper lakes. They persuaded the Iroquois to set free a number of Wyandot captives to guide them through the lakes, and open an intercourse with their people. Owing to the high price and scarcity of goods, this plan was favored by Adario and his people, and also by the Ottowas and Pottowattomis, but the enterprise failed. Major McGregory, who led the party, was intercepted by a large body of French from Mackinac, the whole party captured and their goods were distributed gratuitously to the Indians. The lake Indians, who had, covertly countenanced this attempt, were thrown back entirely on the French trade, and subjected to suspicions which made them uneasy in their councils, and anxious to do away with the suspicions entertained of their fidelity by the French. To this end Adario marched a party of 100 men from Mackinac against the Iroquois. Stopping at fort Cadarackui to get some intelligence which might guide him, the commandant informed him that the governor of Canada, Denonville, was in hopes of concluding a peace with the Five Nations, and expected their ambassadors at Montreal in a few days. He therefore advised the chief to return. Did such a peace take place, Adario perceived that it would leave the Iroquois to push the war against his nation, which had already been driven from the banks of the St. Lawrence to lake Huron. He dissembled his fears, however, before the commandant, and left the fort, not for the purpose of returning home, but to waylay the Iroquois delegates, at a portage on the river where he knew they must pass. He did not wait over four or five days, when the deputies arrived, guarded by 40 young warriors, who were all surprised, and either killed or taken prisoners. His next object was to shift the blame of the act on the governor of Canada, by whom he told his prisoners, he had been informed of their intention to pass this way, and he was thus prepared to lie in wait for them. They were much surprised at this apparent act of perfidy, informing him at the same time, that they were truly and indeed on a message of peace. Adario affected to grow mad with rage against Denonville, declaring that he would some time be revenged on him for making him a tool, in committing so horrid a treachery. Then looking steadfastly on the prisoners, among whom was Dekanefora, the head chief of the Onondaga tribe, "Go," said he, "my brothers, I untie your bonds, and send you home again, although our nations be at war. The French governor has made me commit so black an action, that I shall never be easy after it, until the Five Nations have taken full revenge." The ambassadors were so well persuaded of the perfect truth of his declarations, that they replied in the most friendly terms, and said the way was opened to their concluding a peace between their respective tribes, at any time. He then dismissed his prisoners, with presents of arms, powder and ball, keeping but a single man (an adopted Shawnee) to supply the place of the only man he had lost in the engage[Pg 246]ment. By one bold effort he thus blew up the fire of discord between the French and their enemies, at the moment it was about to expire, and laid the foundation of a peace with his own nation. Adario delivered his slave to the French on reaching Mackinac, who, to keep up the old enmity between the Wyandots and the Five Nations, ordered him to be shot. On this Adario called up an Iroquois prisoner who was a witness of this scene, and who had long been detained among them, and told him to escape to his own country, and give an account of the cruelly of the French, from whom it was not in his power to save a prisoner he had himself taken.

This increased the rage of the Five Nations to such a pitch, that when Mons. Denonville sent a message to disown the act of Adario, they put no faith in it, but burned for revenge. Nor was it long before the French felt the effects of their rage. On the 26th of July, 1688, they landed with 1200 men on the upper end of the island of Montreal, and carried destruction wherever they went. Houses were burnt, plantations sacked, and men, women and children massacred. Above a thousand of the French inhabitants were killed, and twenty-six carried away prisoners, most of whom were burnt alive. In October of the same year, they renewed their incursion, sweeping over the lower part of the island as they had previously done the upper. The consequences of these inroads were most disastrous to the French, who were reduced to the lowest point of political despondency. They burnt their two vessels on Cadarackui lake, abandoned the fort, and returned to Montreal. The news spread far and wide among the Indians of the upper lakes, who, seeing the fortunes of the French on the wane, made treaties with the English, and thus opened the way for their merchandise into the lakes.—[Colden.]

Such were the consequences of a single enterprise, shrewdly planned and vigorously executed. The fame of its author spread abroad, and he was every where regarded as a man of address, courage and abilities. And it is from this time, that the ancient feud between the Wyandots and their kindred, the Five Nations, began to cool. They settled on the straits of Detroit, where they so long, and up to the close of the late war (1814,) exercised a commanding influence among the lake tribes, as keepers of the general council fire of the nations.

La Hontan, in his Travels in New France, relates some conversations with this chief, on the topic of religion, which may be regarded, almost exclusively, as fabulous.

Adates, Adaes, and Adees, forms of orthography, occurring in various writers, for the Adaize Indians, which see.

Adequatángie, a tributary of the eastern head waters of the river Susquehanna in New-York. The word is Iroquois.

Addees, the number of this tribe, residing on the waters of Red River,[Pg 247] in Louisiana, in 1825, is stated, in an official report, from the war department of that year, at twenty-seven.

Adóles, a settlement of Indians in the province of Orinoco. They were of the Saliva nation. The settlement was destroyed by the Caribs in 1684.

Adiróndacks, the name of the Iroquois tribes for the Algonquins. The consideration of their history and characteristics, as a family of tribes, will be taken up, under the latter term.

Adirondack Mountains, a name bestowed, in the geological survey of New York, upon the mountains at the source of the Hudson River.

Adik, Iá-ba. See Iaba Wadik.

Adikíminis, or Cariboo Island; an island situated in the north eastern part of lake Superior, which is invested with no other importance than it derives from Indian mythology and superstition. It is small and has seldom been visited. The Chippewas believe that this is one of the places of residence of their local manitoes, and that it was formerly inhabited by Michabo or Manabosho. Early travellers, who notice this belief, represent its shores to be covered with golden sands, but that these sands are guarded by powerful spirits, who will not permit the treasure to be carried away. Many fanciful tales are told of its having been once attempted, when a huge spirit strode into the water, and reclaimed the shining treasure. This is Carver's version, who, however, confounds it with another contiguous island. Henry, who visited it in his search after silver mines, in 1765, says that the Indians told him that their ancestors had once landed there, being driven by stress of weather, but had great difficulty in escaping from the power of enormous snakes. He calls it the Island of Yellow Sands. It abounded certainly with hawks in his day, one of whom was so bold as to pluck his cap from his head. He found nothing to reward his search but a number of Cariboos, which is the American reindeer, of which no less than 13 were killed, during his stay of three days. He represented it to be 12 miles in circumference, low, and covered with ponds, and to be sixty miles distant from the north shore of the lake. He thinks it is perhaps the same island which the French called Isle de Pontchartrain.

Affagoula, a small village of Indians, of Louisiana, who were located in 1783 near Point Coupé, on the Mississippi.

Agaces, a nation of Indians of the province of Paraguay. They are numerous, valiant, and of a lofty stature. They were, in ancient times, masters of the banks of the Paraguay, waging war against the Guavanies, and keeping the Spaniards at bay, but were at last subjugated in 1542, by Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca, governor of the province.

Agariata, an Iroquois chief, who, having gone on an embassy of peace about 1688, to Canada, the governor, Monsieur Coursel, being exaspe[Pg 248]rated against him, on account of bad faith and a violation of a treaty, caused him to be hanged in the presence of his countrymen.

Agamentigus, a mountain of considerable elevation, eight miles from York harbour, Maine; also, a river of the same vicinity, which derives its waters chiefly from the influx of Piscataqua bay. The termination of the name in us, is foreign, and not in accordance with the Abenakie dialects of this coast.

Agamuntic, the name of a small lake, or pond, of Maine, which discharges its waters through the west branch of the Chaudiere river.

Agawams, a band of Indians of the Pokenoket, or Wampanoag type, who formerly lived at various periods, in part in Sandwich, in part in Ipswich, and in part in Springfield, Massachusetts. The word is written with some variety, in old authors, the chief of which, are, the addition of another g, and the change of the penultimate a to o.

Agiocochook, a name of the Indians, for the White Mountains of New-Hampshire; of which the penultimate ok, is the plural. This group is also called, according to President Allen, Waumbek—a word, which in some of the existing dialects of the Algonquin, is pronounced Waubik, that is, White Rock.

Agnalos, a tribe of infidel Indians, inhabiting the mountains north of the river Apure, in New Grenada.

Agrias, a tribe of Indians, formerly very numerous, of the government of Santa Marta, to the north of the Cienegra Grande. They are, at present, considerably reduced.

Agua de Culebra, San Francisco Xavier De La, a reduccion of Indians of the Capuchins, of the province of Venezuela. The vicinity produces, in abundance, cacao, yucao, and other vegetable productions.

Aguacagua, an Indian mission, on a branch of the Oronoco, called Caroni.

Aguacatlan, an Indian mission of Xala, in Mexico. In 1745, it contained 80 families of Indians, who cultivated maize and French beans.

Agualulco, the capital of the jurisdiction of Izatlan, New Galicia, which in 1745, contained 100 Indian families.

Aguanos, a settlement in the province of Mainas, Quito, so called from the Indians of whom it is composed.

Aguarico, an Indian mission of the Jesuits, on the shores of the river Napo, of the province of Máinás, Quito.

Aguaringua, an ancient and large settlement of Indians of the Taironas nation, in Santa Marta.

Aguilusco, a settlement of the district of Arantzan, in the province of Mechoacan, which contains 36 Indian families. They subsist by sowing seed, cutting wood, making saddle trees, and manufacturing vessels of fine earthen ware.

[Pg 249]Ahapopka, a lake of Florida, having its outlet through the Oclawaha river of the St. John's.

Ahasimus, an ancient Indian name, for the present site of Jersey city, Hudson county, New Jersey.

Ahome, or Ahoma, a nation of Indians, living on the banks of the river Zaque, in the province of Cinaloa, of California. They are located four leagues from the gulf, in extensive and fertile plains, and are said to be superior, by nature, to the other Indians of New Spain. Some of their customs denote this. They abhor poligamy, they hold virginity in the highest estimation. Unmarried girls, by way of distinction, wear a small shell suspended to their neck, until the day of their nuptials, when it is taken off by the bridegroom. They wear woven cotton. They bewail their dead a year, at night and morning. They are gentle and faithful in their covenants and engagements.

Ahouandáte, a name for the tribe of the Wyandots, which is found on ancient maps of the Colonies.

Ahuacatlan, the name of four separate settlements of Mexico, containing, respectively, 51, 13, 450, and 160 families of Indians.

Ahuacazalca, Nueva Espána. At this place, 56 families of Indians live by raising rice and cotton. It is in the district of San Luis de la Costa.

Ahuacazingo, in the district of Atengo, Nueva Espána, contains 46 Indian families.

Ahualican, of the same province, has 36 Indian families.

Ahuatelco, ib. Has 289 families, who cultivate wheat and raise cattle.

Ahuatempa, ib. Has 39 families.

Ahuatepec, ib. Has 32 families.

Ahuazitla, ib. Has 36 families, who trade in chia, a white medicinal earth, grain and earthen-ware.

Ahwahawa, a tribe of Indians who were found in 1805 to be located a few miles above the Mandans, on the south west banks of the Missouri. They are believed to have been a band of the Minnitares. They numbered at that date 200. They were at war with the Snake Indians. They claim to have once been a part of the Crow nation. They professed to have been long residents of the spot occupied. The name has not been kept up, and does not appear in recent reports from that quarter. Their history is, probably, to be sought in that of the Mandans and the Minnetares.

Aiahualtempa, a settlement of Chalipa, Mexico, containing 36 Indian families.

Aiahualulco, ib. Two settlements of this name, contain, respectively, 70 and 42 Indian families.

Aiapango, ib. contains 100 Indian families.

Aiatepec, ib. has 45 families of natives.

Aiautla, ib. has 100 families.

[Pg 250]Aiches, a settlement of Indians of Texas, situated on the main road to Mexico.

Aiectipac, Mexico. Twenty-one Indian families reside here.

Ainse, a Chippewa chief of Point St. Ignace, Michilimackinac county, Michigan. The population of this band, as shown by the government census rolls in 1840, was 193, of whom 33 were men, 54 women, and 106 children. They support themselves by the chase and by fishing. They cultivate potatoes only. They receive, together with the other bands, annuities from the government, in coin, provisions, salt, and tobacco, for which purpose they assemble annually, on the island of Michilimackinac. The name of this chief is believed to be a corruption from Hans.

Aiocuesco, an Indian settlement of Chalipa, Mexico. Has 400 Indian families.

Aioctitlan, ib. Has 76 ditto.

Aiozinapa, ib. Has 34 ditto.

Aiozingo, ib. Has 120 ditto.

Airicos, a nation of Indians inhabiting the plains of Cazanare and Meta in the new kingdom of Grenada, to the east of the mountains of Bogota. They inhabit the banks of the river Ele. They are numerous and warlike, and feared by all their neighbours, for their valour and dexterity in the use of arms. In 1662 Antonio de Monteverde, a Jesuit, established a mission among them, and baptized numbers.

Aishquágonabee, a Chippewa chief, of some note, of a mild and dignified carriage, living on Grand Traverse Bay, on the east shores of lake Michigan. In 1836 he formed a part of the delegation of Chippewa and Ottowa chiefs, who proceeded to Washington city, and concluded a treaty ceding their lands to the U.S. from Grand river on lake Michigan, to Chocolate river on lake Superior. The name signifies, the first feather, or feather of honour. The population of his village in 1840, as shown by the census rolls, was 207, of whom 51 were men, or heads of families, 49 women, and 107 children. They receive annuities annually at Michilimackinac. They subsist by the chase, by planting corn, beans and potatoes, and by fishing.

Aishkebugékozh, or the Flat Mouth, called Guelle Platte, in the patois of the Fur Trade. The Head chief of the band of the Chippewas, called Mukundwas or Pilligers, who are situated at Leech Lake, on the sources of the Mississippi. This band, it is estimated, can furnish 200 warriors. They are a brave and warlike people, and are at perpetual war with their western neighbours, the Sioux. They subsist by the chase, and by taking white fish in the lake. Some corn and potatoes are also raised by the women and the old and superannuated men of the band. They are a fierce, wild, untamed race, strong in their numbers, and proud and confident in their success in war, and the comparative ease with which they procure a subsistence from the chase. They adhere to their ancient religious cere[Pg 251]monies and incantations, and are under the government of their native priests, jossakeeds and seers. Aishkebugekozh, has for many years exercised the political sway over them, leading them, sometimes to war, and presiding, at all times, in their councils. He is a shrewd man, of much observation and experience in the affairs of the frontiers. He is of a large, rather stout frame, broad shoulders and chest, and broad face, with a somewhat stern countenance, denoting decision of character and capacity to command. Thin and extended lips, parted in a right line over a prominent jaw, render the name, which his people have bestowed on him, characteristic. By the term Kozh, instead of Odoan, the true meaning of it is rather muzzle, or snout, than mouth, a distinction which the French have preserved in the term Guelle.

Aiuinos, a nation of Indians, of the government of Cinaloa, New Spain. They live in the north part of the province. They formerly dwelt in lofty mountains, to escape the effects of war with other nations. In 1624, the Jesuits established a mission amongst them. They are docile, well inclined, and of good habits.

Aiutla, a settlement of New Spain, containing 187 Indian families. Another location of the same name contains 23 families.

Ajoues, a tribe of Indians of Louisiana, in its ancient extent, while it existed under the government of the French. The word, as expressed in English orthography, is Iowas, and the tribe will be considered under that head.

Akósa, an Odjibwa chief, living on the peninsula of Grand Traverse Bay, lake Michigan, known for his good will towards the mission established near his village, by the American Board, in 1839. In the recess periods of hunting, he is attentive on the means of instruction furnished at that station. He enjoins on his children attendance at the school. He bestows a punctual care in planting his corn-field and garden. He has erected a good dwelling house of logs, and supplied it with several articles of plain household furniture. He is of a mild and pleasing character, and appreciates and acknowledges the superiority of agriculture and civilization over the uncertainties of the chase. Without distinction in war, or eloquence, or a genealogy of warriors to refer to, and consequently, of but little general note or fame in his tribe, he is an active hunter, and stable, temperate man, and may be regarded as a fair average specimen, physically and mentally, of the race. The band of Akosa mustered 160 souls, on the pay rolls of 1840, of which number, 37 were men, 42 women, and 89 children. They receive their annuities at Michilimackinac.

Akansa, a synonym of Arkansas.

Alabáma, one of the United States of America. The name is derived from a tribe of Indians, who formerly inhabited the banks of the river of the same name. This river, on its junction with the Tombigbee, forms the Mobile. The Alabama Indians, were succeeded in the occupancy of this[Pg 252] river by the Creeks, or Muscogees. They withdrew towards the west. In 1790 their descendants lived in a village, eligibly situated, on several swelling green hills on the banks of the Mississippi. No accounts of them are given in recent reports. They appear to have continued their route westward by the way of Red River. The precise period of their crossing the Mississippi is not known. They came to Red River about the same time as the Bolixies and Appalaches. Their language is represented to be the Mobilian, as denominated by Du Pratz, that is the Chacta. Part of them lived, at the end of the 18th century, on Red River, sixteen miles above Bayou Rapide. Thence they went higher up the stream, and settled near the Caddoes, where they raised good crops of corn. Another party, of about 40 men, lived in Apalousas district, where they cultivated corn, raised and kept horses, hogs and cattle, and exhibited a quiet and pacific character. From a statement published in a paper, at Houston, the seat of government of Texas, in 1840, their descendants were then settled on the river Trinity, in that republic, where they are associated with the Coshattas, forming two villages, numbering two hundred warriors, or about 1000 souls. They preserve, in this new location, the pacific and agricultural traits noticed during their residence in Louisiana.

Alachua, an extensive level prairie, in Florida, about 75 miles west of St. Augustine. The ancient Indian town of Alachua, stood on its borders, but its inhabitants removed to a more healthful position at Cuscowilla.

Alaclatzala, a settlement in the district of St. Lewis, New Spain, containing 125 Indian families.

Alahuitzlan, ib. a settlement having 270 Indian families.

Alapaha, one of the higher tributary streams of the Suwannee river, in Florida.

Alaske, or Onalaska, a long peninsula on the N.W. coast of America. At its termination, are a number of islands, which form a part of the cluster called the northern Archipelago.

Albarrada, a settlement of Indians in the kingdom of Chile, situated on the shores of the river Cauchupil. Also a settlement of New Spain, containing 22 Indian families.

Alempigon, improperly written for Nipigon, a small lake north of lake Superior.

Alfaxaiuca, a settlement of New Spain, containing 171 Indian families.

Algansee, a township of the county of Branch, Michigan. It is a compound derivative from Algonkin, gan, a particle denoting a lake, and mushcodainse, a prairie.

Algic, an adjective term used by the writer, to denote a genus or family of tribes who take their characteristic from the use of the Algonquin lan[Pg 253]guage. It is a derivative from the words Algonquin, and Akee, earth, or land.

Algonquin, a nation of Indians who, on the discovery and settlement of Canada, were found to occupy the north banks of the St. Lawrence between Quebec, Three Rivers, and the junction of the Utawas. Quebec itself is believed to be a word derived from this language, having its origin in Kebic, the fearful rock or cliff. When the French settled at Quebec, fifteen hundred fighting men of this nation lived between that nation and Sillery. They were reputed, at this era, to be the most warlike and powerful people in North America, and the most advanced in their policy and intelligence. Colden speaks of them as excelling all others. On the arrival of Champlain, who, although not the discoverer of the country, was the true founder of the French power in Canada, they were supplied with fire arms, and even led to war, by that chivalric officer, against their enemies, the Iroquois. They were stimulated to renewed exertions in various ways, by the arrival of this new power, and carried the terror of their arms towards the south and south-west. They were in close alliance with the Wyandots, a people who, under the names of Quatoghies and Hurons, on Cartier's arrival in 1534, were seen as low down the St. Lawrence as the island of Anticosti, and bay Chaleur. But as soon as the Iroquois had been supplied with the same weapons, and learned their use, the Algonquins were made to feel the effects of their courage, and combined strength. The Wyandots were first defeated in a great battle fought within two leagues of Quebec. The Iroquois next prepared to strike an effective blow against the collective tribes of kindred origin, called Algonquins. Under the pretence of visiting the Governor of Canada, they introduced a thousand men into the valley of the St. Lawrence, when, finding their enemies separated into two bodies, the one at the river Nicolet, and the other at Trois Rivière, they fell upon them unawares, and defeated both divisions. In this defeat the Nipercerinians (Nipessings) and the Atawawas (Ottowas) who then lived on the banks of the St. Lawrence, participated. The former, who were indeed but the Algonquins, under their proper name, drew off towards the north-west. The Atawawas migrated to the great chain of the Manatoulines of lake Huron, whence they have still proceeded further towards the west and south, until they reached L'arbre Croche and Grand River of Michigan, their present seats. The Quatoghies or Wyandots fled to the banks of the same Lake (Huron) which has derived its name from the celebrity of their flight to, and residence on its banks.

Of the Algonquins proper who remained on the St. Lawrence, and who are specifically entitled to that name, but a limited number survive. About the middle of the 17th century, they were reduced to a few villages near Quebec, who were then said to be "wasted, and wasting away under the effects of ardent spirits." Subsequently, they were collected, by the[Pg 254] Catholic Church, into a mission, and settled at the Lake of Two Mountains, on the Utawas or Grand River of Canada, where they have been instructed in various arts, and effectually civilized. There, their descendants still remain. They are a tall, active, shrewd, lithe, energic race. Parties of them have been engaged as voyagers and hunters, within modern times, and led in the prosecution of the fur trade into the remote forests of the north-west. In these positions, they have manifested a degree of energy, hardihood, and skill in the chase, far beyond that possessed by native, unreclaimed tribes. The Algonquin women, at the Lake of Two Mountains, make very ingenious basket and bead work, in which the dyed quills of the porcupine, and various coloured beads of European manufacture, are employed. They also make finger rings out of moose hair, taken from the breast tuft of this animal, in which mottoes or devices are worked. They have melodious soft voices, in chanting the hymns sung at the mission. This tribe is called Odishkuaguma, that is, People-at-the-end-of-the-waters, by the Odjibwas. They were called Adirondacks, by the Six Nations. The term Algonquin, which we derive from the French, is not of certain etymology. It appears at first to have been a nom de guerre, for the particular people, or tribe, whose descendants are now confined to the position at the Lake of Two Mountains. It was early applied to all the tribes of kindred origin. And is now a generic term for a family or primitive stock of tribes in North America, who either speak cognate dialects, or assimilate in the leading principles of their languages.

The number of these tribes still existing, is very large, and viewed in the points of their greatest difference, the variations in the consonantal and diphthongal sounds of their languages, are considerable. As a general geographical area, these tribes, at various periods from about 1600, to the present time, ethnographically covered the Atlantic coast, from the northern extremity of Pamlico-sound to the Straits of Bellisle, extending west and north-west, to the banks of the Missinipi of Hudson's Bay, and to the east borders of the Mississippi, as low as the junction of the Ohio. From this area, the principal exceptions are the Iroquois of New York, the Wyandots west, and the Winnebagoes and small bands of the Docotahs. The grammatical principles of these dialects, coincide. As a general fact, in their lexicography the letters f, r and v are wanting. The dialects derive their peculiarities, in a great measure, from interchanges between the sounds of l and n, b and p, d and t, g and k, in some of which, there is a variance even in distant bands of the same tribe. The language is transpositive. In its conjugations, the pronouns are incorporated with the verb, either as prefixes or suffixes. Its substantives are provided with adjective inflections, denoting size and quality. Its verbs, on the other hand, receive substantive inflections. Gender is, as a rule, lost sight of, in the uniform attempt, to preserve, by inflections, a distinction between animate and inanimate, and personal or impersonal objects. It is remark[Pg 255]able for the variety of its compounds, although the vocabulary itself, is manifestly constructed from monosyllabic roots. All its substantives admit of diminutives, but, in no instance, of augmentatives. They also admit of derogative and prepositional inflections. The comparison of adjectives, is not, on the contrary, made by inflections, but by separate words. There is no dual number, but in all the dialects, so far as examined, a distinction is made in the plural of the first person, to denote the inclusion or exclusion of the object. There is no distinction between the pronoun, singular and plural, of the third person. The language has some redundancies, which would be pruned off by cultivation. It has many liquid and labial sounds. It has a soft flow and is easy of attainment. It is peculiarly rich and varied, in its compound terms for visible objects, and their motions or acts. Streams, mountains, vallies, and waters, in all their variety of appearance, are graphically described. It is equally suited to describe the phenomena of the heavens, the air, tempests, sounds, light, colours, motion, and the various phases of the clouds and planetary bodies. It is from this department, that a large portion of their personal names are taken.

It is true that many of the grammatical principles of the Algonquin languages, are also developed in other stocks. Yet these stocks are not as well known. It was chiefly in the area of the Algonquin tribes, that the British and French, and Dutch and Swedish colonists settled, and the result of enquiry, through a long period, has accumulated most materials in relation to this type of the American languages. Specific notices of each of the subdivisions of this stock, will be given under the appropriate names.

The general synonyms for this nation are but few. The principal differences in the orthography, between the French and English writers consist in the latter's spelling the last syllable quin, while the former employ kin. In old encyclopædias and gazetteers, the phrase Algonquinensis, is used. The term Abernaquis, is also a French mode of annotation for the same word, but is rather applied at this time to a specific band. The word Algic, derived from the same root, has been applied by the writer to the entire circle of the Algonquin tribes, in their utmost former extent in North America. Mr. Gallatin has proposed the term "Algonkin-Lenape," as a philological denomination for this important family. Their own name for the race, is a question of some diversity of opinion. Those particular tribes, who were found on the Atlantic coast between the Chesapeak-bay and the Hudson, called themselves Lenapes, generally with the prefixed or qualifying noun of Linno, or Lenno. Other tribes extending over the largest area of the union, and of British America, inhabited by this stock, denote themselves as a race, by the term Anishinábá, that is, the common people.

The term Lenápe, signifies a male, and is identical in sense with the[Pg 256] Algonquin word Iába. If Lenno, or Linno be, as some contend, a term denoting original, they must be conceded to have had more forethought, and a greater capacity for generalization, than other stocks have manifested, by calling themselves, Original Men. If, however, it only implies, as others acquainted with this language, assert, common or general, then is here perceived to be a perfect identity in the meaning of the two terms.

Algonac, a village of the county of St. Clair, Michigan, which is pleasantly situated on the banks of the river St. Clair. It is a term derived from the word Algonquin, and akee, earth or land.

Algonquinensis, a term used in old gazetteers and geographical dictionaries, for the Algonquins.

Alietans, a name for the Shoshones, or Snake Indians. See Ietans.

Alibamons, or Alibamis, ancient forms of orthography for the tribe of the Alabamas.

Alina, a settlement of Pinzandare, New Spain, containing 20 Indian families, who have a commerce in maize and wax.

Alipkonck, an Indian village which, in 1659, stood on the east banks of the river Hudson, between the influx of the Croton, then called by the Dutch Saehkill, and the Indian village of Sing Sing. [Osinsing.] Aneebikong? place of leaves, or rich foliage.

Allca, an ancient province of the kingdom of Peru, south of Cuczo, inhabited by a race of natives, who made a vigorous stand against Manco Capac, the fourth emperor of the Incas, and called the conqueror. In this defence, they were favoured by the rugged character of the country, which abounds in woods, mountains, lakes, and gold and silver mines.

Allegan, an agricultural and milling county of the state of Michigan, bordering on the east shores of lake Michigan. It is a derivative word, from Algonkin, and gan the penultimate syllable of the Odjibwa term Sa-gí-é-gan, a lake.

Alleghany, the leading chain of mountains of the United States east of the Mississippi, also one of the two principal sources of the Ohio river. Indian tradition attributes the origin of this name to an ancient race of Indians who were called Tallegewy, or Allegewy. This nation, tradition asserts, had spread themselves east of the Mississippi and of the Ohio. They were a warlike people, and defended themselves in long and bloody wars, but were overpowered and driven south by a confederacy of tribes, whose descendants still exist in the Algonquin and Iroquois stocks. Such is the account of the Delawares.

Almoloia, a settlement of Zultepec in New Spain, of 77 Indian families; also, in Metepec, in the same kingdom, of 156 families.

[Pg 257]Almololoaian, a settlement in the district of Colima, New Spain, of 60 Indian families.

Alotepec, ib. has 67 families.

Alozozingo, ib. has 110 families.

Alpizagua, ib. has 36 families.

Alpoieca, ib. has 42 families. Another, same name, of 115 families.

Alpoiecazingo, ib. has 140 families.

Alponeca, ib. has 30 families. Another, same name, 77 families.

Altamaha, a river of Georgia.

Altotonga, the name of a settlement of Xalapa, in New Spain. The word signifies in the Mexican language, hot and saltish water, and this comes from the intermingled qualities of two streams which originate in a mountain near to each other, and form by their junction a river which runs into the lake of Alchichica.

Alzoui, a settlement of 190 Indian families, of Tlapa, in New Spain, or Mexico. They are industrious, cultivating maize, cotton, French beans and rice.

Almouchico, the Indian name for New England, on the map of "Novi Belgii," published at Amsterdam in 1659.

Amacaches, a nation of Indians of Brazil, of the province of Rio Janiero. They inhabit the mountains south of the city. They are numerous, and much dreaded, on account of the desperate incursions they have made into the Portuguese settlements. Their weapons are darts, and macanaw, a kind of club made of a very heavy wood. They poison their arrows and lances.

Amalistes, a band of Algonquins, living on the St. Lawrence, and numbering 500 in 1760.

Amanalco, an Indian settlement of the district of Metepeque, Mexico, of 1224 families.

Amapaes, a barbarous nation of Indians in New Andalusia, to the west of the river Orinoco, near the mountains of Paria. They are valiant and hardy; sincere and faithful in their engagements. They live by the chace and by fishing. They make arms, which are tipped by vegetable poisons. They are at war with the Isaperices. Their territory is called, after them, Amapaya.

Amapilcan, a settlement of Tlapa, Mexico, containing 15 Indian families.

Amatepec, an Indian settlement of Zultepec, Mexico, situated on the top of a mountain, consisting of 80 families. Another settlement, of the same name, in the district of Toltontepec, has 15 Indians families. Both have a cold temperature.

Amaticlan, a settlement of Huitepec, in Mexico, containing 43 Indian families.

[Pg 258]Amatinchan, a settlement of Tlapa, Mexico, containing 62 Indian families.

Amatlan, a settlement of Tanzitaro, Mexico, containing 60 Indian families. Another settlement of San Louis, has 380 families. Another, in the district of Cordova, has 220. Another, in Zacatlan 248. Another, in Cozamaopan has 150. All these bear the same name, with the prefix of the dedicatory patron, Santa Ana.

Amboy, a bay of New Jersey. This part of the state was occupied, in ancient time, by a tribe or band of the Minci, who were called Sauhikans.

Amealco, a settlement of Querataro, Mexico, containing 38 Indian families.

Ameca, a settlement of Autlan, Mexico, containing 43 Indian families.

Amecameca, a settlement of Chalco, Mexico, containing 570 Indian families.

Amecaque, a settlement of Calpa, Mexico, containing 275 Indian families.

America; no nation of Indians on this continent, had, so far as we know, ever generalized sufficiently to bestow a generic name on the continent. The Algonquin terms "Our Country," Aindanukeyan, and "The West," Kabean, were probably the most comprehensive which their intercourse or ideas required. Equivalents for these phrases might be, perhaps, successfully sought among all the most advanced tribes. The instances here given are from the Odjibwa dialect.

Amicways, or Amicawaes, a tribe or family of Indians, who are spoken of by the French writers as having formerly inhabited the Manatonline chain of islands in lake Huron. The term is from Amik, a beaver. The Ottowas settled here, after their discomfiture, along with the Adirondacks, on the St. Lawrence.

Amik-eminis, the group of Beaver islands of Lake Michigan. The easternmost of this group is called Amik-aindaud, or the Beaver-house. These islands are inhabited by Chippewas. In 1840, they numbered 199 souls, of whom 39 were men, 51 women, and 109 children. All were engaged in the chase, or in fishing, and none in agriculture. Their chief was called Kinwabekizze.

Amikwug, a wild roving nation northwest of the sources of the Mississippi. See Beaver Indians.

Amilpa, a settlement of Xochimilco, in Mexico, containing 730 Indian families, who live by agriculture.

Amiltepec, a settlement of Juquila, M., containing 14 Indian families.

Amixocores, a barbarous nation of Indians of Brazil. They inhabit the woods and mountains south of Rio Janerio. They are cruel and treacherous. They are at continual war with the Portuguese. Very little is known of the territory they inhabit, or of their manners.

[Pg 259]Ammougkaugen, a name used in 1659, for the southern branch of the Piscataqua river.

Amola, or Amula, a judicial district in Guadaxalara, Mexico. In the Mexican tongue, it signifies the land of many trees, as it abounds in trees. The change from o to u in the word, is deemed a corruption.

Amoltepec, a settlement of Teozaqualco, Mexico, containing 96 Indian families.

Amonoosuck, an Indian name which is borne by two rivers of New Hampshire. Both take their rise in the White Mountains. The upper Amonoosuck enters the Connecticut River, at Northumberland, near upper Coos. The lower, or Great Amonoosuck, enters the same river above the town of Haverhill, in lower Coos.

Amopocan, a settlement of Indians of Cuyo, in Chili, situated along the shores of a river.

Amozaque, a settlement of Puebla de los Angelos, in a hot and dry temperature, containing 586 Indian families.

Ampones, a barbarous nation of Indians, in Paraguay. They inhabit the forest to the south of the Rio de la Plata. They are of small stature. They are divided into several tribes. They are courageous. They live on wild tropical fruits, and on fish which are taken in certain lakes. They preserve these by smoking. They enjoy a fine country and climate. They find gold in the sand of their rivers, and have some traffic with the city of Conception. Some converts have been made to the Catholic faith.

Amues, a settlement and silver mine of San Luis de la Paz, in Mexico. It has 43 Indian families, besides 93 of Mustees and Mullatoes. They subsist by digging in the mines.

Amurcas, a nation of barbarous Indians, descended from the Panches, in New Grenada. They live in the forests to the south of the river Magdalena. But little is known of them.

Amuskeag, the Indian name of a fall in the river Merrimack, New Hampshire, 16 miles below Concord, and 7 miles below Hookset falls.

Ana, Santa. Of the fifty-five names of places in Mexico, or New Spain, mentioned by Alcedo, which bear this name, seven are the seat of a joint population of 544 Indian families. Of these, 31 are in Zaqualpa; 117 in Zultepec; 124 in Toluca; 134 in Cholula; 18 in Yautepec; 25 in Mitla; 70 in Amaqueca; and 149 in Huehuetlan.

Anahuac, the ancient Indian name of New Spain, or Mexico. The valley of Mexico, or Tenochtitlan, is, according to Humboldt, situated in the centre of the cordillera of Anahuac. This valley is of an oval form. Its length is 18-3/4 leagues, estimating from the entry of the Rio Tenango into lake Chalco to the foot of the Cerro de Sincoque, and 12-1/2 leagues in breadth, from St. Gabriel to the sources of the Rio de Escapusalco. Its territorial extent is 244-1/2 square leagues, of which only 22 square leagues[Pg 260] are occupied by lakes, being less than a tenth of the whole surface. The circumference of the valley, estimating around the crest of the mountains, is 67 leagues. This crest is very elevated in most parts, and embraces the great volcanoes of La Puebla, Popocatepetl, and Iztacchihuatl. There are five lakes in this valley, of which, that of Tezcuco is the largest. All are much diminished in the quantity of water they yield, since the 16th century, which is owing, in part, to the destruction of trees by the Spaniards, but most directly to the canal of Huehuetoco, cut through a mountain, by which the waters are drawn into the river Panuco, and thus find their way into the Atlantic. By this work, the city of Mexico itself was freed from all effects of periodical inundation, and the site enlarged and rendered better suited to streets and carriages. The waters of lake Tezcuco are impregnated with muriate and carbonate of soda. Those of Xochimilco are the most pure and limpid. Humboldt found their specific gravity to be 1.0009, when distilled water at the temperature of 54° Fahrenheit, was 1.000, and that of Tezcuco 1.0215.

Of the five lakes mentioned, Xochimilco and Chalco contain 6-1/2 square leagues; Tezcuco, 10-1/10; San Christoval, 3-6/10; and Zumpango, 1-3/10. The valley is a basin, surrounded by an elevated wall of porphyry mountains. The bottom of this basin is 2,277 metres, or 7,468 feet above the sea.

Analco, a settlement of Guadalaxara, in Mexico, containing 40 Indian families.

Anasaguntakook, a band of the Abenaki, on the sources of the Androscoggin, in Maine.

Ancamares, a nation of Indians inhabiting the shores of the river Madera. They are very warlike and robust. In 1683 they attacked the Portuguese, and compelled them to give up the navigation of the river. They are divided into different tribes. The most numerous are the Ancamares, who inhabit the shores of the river Cayari.

Ancas, a nation of Indians in Peru, who, on the 6th January, 1725, were overwhelmed and destroyed by the ruins of a mountain which burst forth by an earthquake. Fifteen thousand souls perished on that occasion.

Ance, or Hance's band of Chippewas, living at Point St. Ignace, on the straits of Michilimackinac, in Michigan. This band, in 1840, as denoted by the annuity pay rolls, numbered 193; of whom, 33 were men, 54 women, and 106 children. They subsist in part by hunting the small furred animals still existing in the country, and in part by fishing. They migrate from place to place, as the season varies, plant very little, and are addicted to the use of ardent spirits.

Anclote, an island on the southwest coast of Florida; also, a river flowing into the gulf at that locality, which is also called, in the Seminole dialect, the Est-has-hotee.

[Pg 261]Ancuteres, a nation of infidel Indians inhabiting the forests of the river Napo, in Quito. They are numerous, savage, treacherous, and inconstant.

Andastes, a nation formerly inhabiting the territory on the southern shores of lake Erie, southwest of the Senecas. They were extirpated by the Iroquois.

Andaig Weos, or Crow's Flesh, a hereditary chief of the Chippewa nation, living towards the close of the last century at the ancient Indian village of La Pointe Chegoimegon, on lake Superior. He possessed qualities, which, under a different phasis of society, would have developed themselves in marked acts of benevolence. Numbers of anecdotes, favourable to his character, are related of him, and have been handed down by tradition among the French residents on that remote frontier. Although a warrior, engaged in frequent expeditions against the enemies of his tribe, he opposed the shedding of the blood of white men who were encountered, in a defenceless state, in the pursuits of trade. He also resisted the plunder of their property. He had a strong natural sense of justice, accompanied with moral energy, and gave utterance to elevated and ennobling sentiments in his intercourse.

Andreas, San, a settlement of Texupilco, in Mexico, containing 77 Indian families; another of Toluco, of 134; another in Tlatotepec, of 33; another in Tuxtla, of 1170; another in Guejozingo, of 15; another in Papalotepec, of 20; another in Hiscoutepec, of 68; another in Tepehuacan, of 40; all under the same dedicatory name.

Androscoggin, the main western source of the river Kennebec, in Maine.

Angagua, Santiago De, a settlement of Valladolid, Mexico, containing 22 Indian families.

Angamocutiro, a settlement of the same district with the preceding, containing 106 Indian families.

Angaraes, a province of Peru, containing six curacies or parishes of Indians.

Angeles, Puebla De Los, the capitol of the province of Tlaxcala, in New Spain, or Mexico, founded in 1533. The entire number of Indian families within this important jurisdiction is 3,200, which, at the ordinary rate of the estimation of Indian population here, that is, five souls to a family, gives an aggregate of 16,000. These are descendants of the ancient Azteecs, who inhabited the country on its conquest.

This is, however, but the population of the chief town or capital. The entire intendency of Pueblos de los Angeles contained, in 1793, 508,098 souls. Of this number, 373,752 were Indians of pure blood, divided into 187,531 males, and 186,221 females. There were also 77,908 of the mixed race, divided into 37,318 males, and 40,590 females. But 54,980 were Spaniards, or whites, exclusive of 585 secular ecclesiastics, 446 monks, and 427 nuns.

[Pg 262]This preponderance of the native Indian population is still more striking in the government of Ilaxcala, which, of course, includes the capital above named. In 1793, it contained a population of 59,177 souls; of which, 42,878 were Indians, divided into 21,849 males, and 21,029 females. The town is governed by a Cacique, and four Indian Alcaldes, who represent the ancient heads of the four quarters, still called Teepectipac, Ocotelalco, Quiahtuitztlan, and Tizatlan. By virtue of a royal cedula of 16th April, 1585, the whites have no seat in the municipality. The Cacique, or Indian Governor, enjoys the honors of an alferez real. Notwithstanding the zeal of a Spanish intendant general, the progress of the inhabitants in industry and prosperity has been extremely slow. The secret of this is, perhaps, revealed in the fact that four fifths of the whole property belongs to mort-main proprietors, that is to say, to communities of monks, to chapters, corporations, and hospitals. Their trade is also depressed by the enormous price of carriage from the table lands, and the want of beasts of burden.

The geology and antiquities of this part of Mexico, are equally interesting. The intendency of Puebla is traversed by the high cordilleras of Anahuac, which, beyond the 18th degree of latitude, spreads into a plain, elevated from 1,800 to 2,000 metres above the level of the ocean, or from 5,905 to 6,561 feet. In this intendency is also the Popocatepetl, the highest mountain in Mexico. Humboldt's measurement of this volcano makes it 600 metres (1,968 feet,) higher than the most elevated summit of the old continent. It is, indeed, only exceeded between Panama and Behring's Straits, by Mt. St. Elias.

The table land of Puebla exhibits remarkable vestiges of ancient civilization. The fortifications of Tlaxcala are posterior in the date of their construction to the great pyramid of Cholula. This pyramid, or teocalli, is the most stupendous monument erected by the race. Its squares are arranged in exact accordance with the astronomical parallels. It is constructed in stages or terraces, the highest of which is 177 feet above the plain. It has a base of 1423 feet. By a passage excavated into the north side of it, a few years ago, it is found to be solid, and to consist of alternate layers of brick and clay. Its centre has not, however, been reached. Its height exceeds the third of the great Egyptian pyramids of the group of Ghiza. In its base, however, it exceeds that of all other edifices found by travellers in the old continent; it is almost double that of the great pyramid of Cheops. To conceive of the vastness of the structure, let the traveller imagine a square four times the size of the Place Vendome, piled up with brick, in terraces, twice the utmost height of the palace of the Louvre.

The Indians of the province of Tlaxcala speak three languages, differing from one another, namely: the Mexican, Totonac, and Tlapanac. The first is peculiar to the inhabitants of Puebla, Cholula, and Tlascalla;[Pg 263] the second to the inhabitants of Zacatlan; and the third is preserved in the environs of Tlapa. The population of the entire intendency of Puebla, in 1803, that is, ten years after the census above noted, had advanced to 813,300 in an extent of 2,696 square leagues, giving 301 inhabitants to the square league. Small as this may appear, it is four times greater than that of Sweden, and nearly equal to that of the Kingdom of Arragon.

Anialis, a barbarous nation of South American Indians, in the llanos of Casanare and Meta, in the new kingdom of Grenada. They are descended from the Betoyes. They are very numerous, and of a gentle nature. The Jesuits established a mission among them in 1722.

Annaciois, or Annacous, a barbarous nation of Indians, of the province of Puerto Seguro, in Brazil. They inhabit the woods and mountains to the west, and near the rivers Grande and Yucara. They are in a constant state of warfare, night and day. They are irreconcileable enemies of the Portuguese, whose colonies and cultivated lands they continually infest, and which they destroyed in 1687.

Annemosing, the name of the Ottowas, and Chippewas, for the Fox Islands, of lake Michigan. It is derived of Annemose, a young dog or fox, and ing, a particle denoting place, or locality.

Annemikeens, a Chippewa hunter of Red River, in Hudson's bay, who survived a conflict with a grisly bear. After being terribly lacerated, in his face and limbs, but not deprived of consciousness, he affected death. The animal then seized him gently by the neck, and dragged him to a thicket, where he was left, as it was thought, to be eaten when the calls of hunger should demand. From this position he arose, first setting up, and binding parts of his lacerated flesh down, and afterwards rose, and succeeded in reaching his wigwam, where, by skill in the use of simples, his wounds were entirely healed. The name signifies little thunder, being a compound from Annimikee, thunder, and the diminutive inflection in us.

Annutteligo, a hammock brought to notice in the late war with the Seminoles, in Florida. It is situated east of the Withlacooche river.

Anolaima, a settlement of Iocaima, in New Granada, containing a small, but indefinite population of Indians.

Antalis, a barbarous and warlike nation of Indians, in the kingdom of Chile, to the west of Coquimbo. They valorously opposed the progress of the Inca Yupanqui, compelling him, in the end, to terminate his conquests on the other side of the river Maule, the last boundary of Peru.

Antiquities. See the articles Grave Creek, Marrietta, Circleville, &c.

Anthony, St., the falls of, being the fourth and lowermost of the perpendicular, or prominent falls of the Mississippi, and by far the greatest.

The first fall of this stream is the Kakabika, situated about half a day's journey below Itasca lake; the second is called Pukägama, and occurs be[Pg 264]low the influx of the Leech lake branch. The third is below Elk river and is passable in boats and canoes. St. Anthony's is the most considerable of the series, and the only one which presents an abrupt plunge of the stream from horizontal rocks. They were thus named by Hennepin, about 1680. By the Dacotah Indians, who inhabit the country, they are called Haha. It is at this point, that the Mississippi, which gathers its waters from high table lands, and has its course, for several hundreds of miles, through diluvions superimposed on the primitive, first plunges into the great secondary formation. For more than a thousand miles, in its way southward, its banks are rendered imposing and precipitous by this formation. At or near the Grand Tower, and its adjunct precipice, on the Missouri shore, this formation ceases, and the river enters the great delta, which still confines it, for a like distance, before it expands itself, by its bifurcations, and final exit, in the Gulf of Mexico, at the Balize.

Antonio, San. The following statistical facts, denote the Indian population, of sundry settlements, bearing this name, within the former government of New Spain, now Mexico. In the limits of Toliman, 32 families; in Tampolomon, 128; in Toluca 51; in Metepec 261; in Coronango, 44; in Huehuetlan, 140; in Chapala, 27.

Apacahund, or White Eyes, a Delaware chief of note, of the era of the American revolution, who is frequently mentioned in documents of the times.

Apaces, San Juan Bautista De, a settlement of Zelaga in the province and bishopric of Mechoacan, containing 135 Indian families. Another settlement, of the same name, with the dedicatory title of Santa Maria, in the district of Zitaguaro, contains 24 families.

Apaches, a nation of Indians, located between the Rio del Norte and the sources of the Nuaces, who were reported, in 1817, at 3,500. In an official report submitted to Congress, in 1837, their numbers "within striking distance of the western frontier," are vaguely put at, 20,280.

[Pg 265]Apallachians, a nation of Indians who formerly inhabited the extreme southern portion of the United States, and have left their name in the leading range of the Apallachian mountains. In 1539 De Soto found them in Florida, a term at that era comprehending also the entire area of the present states of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and other portions of the southern territory. They were numerous, fierce, and valorous. They were clothed in the skins of wild beasts. They used bows and arrows, clubs and spears. They did not, as many nations of barbarians do, poison their darts. They were temperate, drinking only water. They did not make wars on slight pretences, or for avarice, but to repress attacks, or remedy injustice. They treated their prisoners with humanity, and like other persons of their households. They were long lived, some persons reaching a hundred years. They worshipped the sun, to which they sang hymns, morning and evening. These facts are to be gleaned from the narrative. What were their numbers, how far they extended their jurisdiction, what were their affiliations by language, customs, and institutions with other tribes, cannot be accurately decided. Much that is said of their civil and military polity, buildings, ceremonies and other traits, applies to the Floridian Indians generally, and may be dismissed as either vague, or not characteristic of the Appalachians. A quarto volume was published in London in 1666, by John Davies, under the title of a "History of the Caribby Indians," in which he traces the caribs of the northern groups of the West Indies, to the Apallachians, and relates many incidents, and narrates a series of surprising wars and battles, reaching, in their effects, through the Mississippi valley up to the great lakes, which have the appearance of fable. How much of this account, which speaks of "cattle" and "herds," may be grafted on ancient traditions, it is impossible to tell. There are some proofs of such an ancient civilisation in the Ohio valley and other sections of the country, but they are unconnected with any Indian traditions, which have survived, unless we consider the mounds and remains of antique forts as monumental evidences of these reputed wars. The Lenapee accounts of these ancient wars with the Tallagees or Allegewy, may be thought to refer to this ancient people, who had, if this conjecture be correct, extended their dominion to the middle and northern latitudes of the present area of the United States, prior to the appearance of the Algonquin and Iroquies races. Mr. Irving has suggested the name of Apallachia, or Allegania, derived from the stock, for this division of the continent.

[Pg 266]



The course of lectures, of which the following are part, were delivered before the St. Mary's committee of the Algic Society. Two of them only have been published. They are here continued from the article "Indian Languages," at page 202 of the "Narrative of the Discovery of the actual Source of the Mississippi, in Itasca Lake," published by the Harpers, in 1834. The family of languages selected as the topic of inquiry, is the Algonquin. All the examples employed are drawn from that particular type of it which is called Chippewa, in our transactions with them, but which they uniformly pronounce themselves, Od-jib-wa. These terms are employed as perfect synonyms. The phrase "Odjibwa-Algonquin," wherever it occurs, is intended to link, in the mind of the inquirer, the species and the genus (if we may borrow a term from natural history) of the language, but is not fraught with, or intended to convey, any additional idea. The three terms relate to one and the same people.


Observations on the Adjective—Its distinction into two classes denoted by the presence or absence of vitality—Examples of the animates and inanimates—Mode of their conversion into substantives—How pronouns are applied to these derivatives, and the manner of forming compound terms from adjective bases, to describe the various natural phenomena—The application of these principles in common conversation, and in the description of natural and artificial objects—Adjectives always preserve the distinction of number—Numerals—Arithmetical capacity of the language—The unit exists in duplicate.

1. It has been remarked that the distinction of words into animates and inanimates, is a principle intimately interwoven throughout the structure of the language. It is, in fact, so deeply imprinted upon its grammatical forms, and is so perpetually recurring, that it may be looked upon, not only as forming a striking peculiarity of the language, but as constituting the fundamental principle of its structure, from which all other rules have derived their limits, and to which they have been made to conform. No class of words appears to have escaped its impress. Whatever concords[Pg 267] other laws impose, they all agree, and are made subservient in the establishment of this.

It might appear to be a useless distinction in the adjective, when the substantive is thus marked; but it will be recollected that it is in the plural of the substantive only, that the distinction is marked. And we shall presently have occasion to show, that redundancy of forms, are, to considerable extent, obviated in practice.

For the origin of the principle itself, we need look only to nature, which endows animate bodies with animate properties and qualities, and vice versa. But it is due to the tribes who speak this language, to have invented one set of adjective symbols to express the ideas peculiarly appropriate to the former, and another set applicable, exclusively, to the latter; and to have given the words good and bad, black and white, great and small, handsome and ugly, such modifications as are practically competent to indicate the general nature of the objects referred to, whether provided with, or destitute of the vital principle. And not only so, but by the figurative use of these forms, to exalt inanimate masses into the class of living beings, or to strip the latter of the properties of life—a principle of much importance to their public speakers.

This distinction is shown in the following examples, in which it will be observed, that the inflection izzi, generally denotes the personal, and au, un, or wud, the impersonal forms.

Adj: InanimateAdj: Animate.
BadMonaudud Monaudizzi.
Beautiful    BishegaindaugwudBishegaindaugoozzi.

It is not, however, in all cases, by mere modifications of the adjective, that these distinctions are expressed. Words totally different in sound, and evidently derived from radically different roots, are, in some few instances, employed, as in the following examples:

[Pg 268]

Adj: Inanimate.Adj: Animate.

It may be remarked of these forms, that although the impersonal will, in some instances, take the personal inflections, the rule is not reciprocated, and minno, and mindiddo, and gitizzi, and all words similarly situated, remain unchangeably animates. The word pungee, is limited to the expression of quantity, and its correspondent uggaushi, to size, or quality. Kisheda, (hot) is restricted to the heat of a fire; keezhauta, to the heat of the sun. There is still a third term to indicate the natural heat of the body, Kizzizoo. Mitshau (large) is generally applied to countries, lakes, rivers, &c. Mindiddo, to the body, and gitshee, indiscriminately. Onishishin, and its correspondent onishishsha, signify, handsome or fair, as well as good. Kwonaudj a. a. and kwonaudj ewun a. i. mean, strictly, handsome, and imply nothing further. Minno, is the appropriate personal form for good. Mudgee and monaudud, may reciprocally change genders, the first by the addition of i-e-e, and the second by altering ud to izzi.

Distinctions of this kind are of considerable importance in a practical point of view, and their observance or neglect, are noticed with scrupulous exactness by the Indians. The want of inanimate forms to such words as happy, sorrowful, brave, sick &c., creates no confusion, as inanimate nouns cannot, strictly speaking, take upon themselves such qualities, and when they do—as they sometimes do, by one of those extravagant figures of speech, which are used in their tales of transformations, the animate forms answer all purposes. For in these tales the whole material creation may be clothed with animation. The rule, as exhibited in practice, is limited, with sufficient accuracy, to the boundaries prescribed by nature.

To avoid a repetition of forms, were the noun and the adjective both to be employed in their usual relation, the latter is endowed with a pronominal, or substantive inflection. And the use of the noun, in its separate form, is thus wholly superceded. Thus onishishin, a. i. and onishishsha, a. a. become Wanishishing, that which is good, or fair, and Wanishishid, he who is good or fair. The following examples will exhibit this rule, under each of its forms.

Compound or Noun-Adjective Animate.

[Pg 269]

Noun-Adjective Inanimate.

The animate forms in these examples will be recognized, as exhibiting a further extension of the rule, mentioned in the preceding chapter, by which substantives are formed from the indicative of the verb by a permutation of the vowels. And these forms are likewise rendered plural in the manner there mentioned. They also undergo changes to indicate the various persons. For instance onishisha is thus declined to mark the person.

Wänishish-eyaunI (am) good or fair.
Wänishish-eyunThou (art) good or fair.
Wänishish-idHe (is) good or fair.
Wänishish-eyangWe (are) good or fair (ex.)
Wänishish-eyungWe (are) good or fair (in.)
Wänishish-eyaigYe (are) good or fair.
Wänishish-idigjThey (are) good or fair.

The inanimate forms, being without person, are simply rendered plural by in, changing maiskwaug, to maiskwaug-in, &c., &c. The verbal signification which these forms assume, as indicated in the words am, art, is, are, is to be sought in the permutative change of the first syllable. Thus o is changed to wä, muk to mäk, waub to wy-aub, ozau to wäzau, misk to maisk, &c. The pronoun, as is usual in the double compounds, is formed wholly by the inflections eyaun, eyun, &c.

The strong tendency of the adjective to assume a personal, or pronomico-substantive form, leads to the employment of many words in a particular, or exclusive sense. And in any future practical attempts with the language, it will be found greatly to facilitate its acquisition if the adjectives are arranged in distinct classes, separated by this characteristic principle of their application. The examples we have given are chiefly those which may be considered strictly animate, or inanimate, admit of double forms, and are of general use. Many of the examples recorded in the original manuscripts employed in these lectures, are of a more concrete character, and, at the same time, a more limited use. Thus shaugwewe, is a weak person, nökaugumme, a weak drink, nokaugwud, a weak, or soft piece of wood. Sussägau, is fine, but can only be applied to personal appearance: beesau, indicates fine grains. Keewushkwa is giddy, and keewushkwäbee, giddy with drink, both being restricted to the third person. Söngun and songizzi, are the personal and impersonal forms of strong, as given above. But Mushkowaugumme, is strong drink. In like manner the two words for hard, as above, are restricted to solid sub[Pg 270]stances. Sunnuhgud is hard (to endure,) waindud, is easy (to perform.) Söngedää is brave, Shaugedää cowardly, keezhinzhowizzi, active, kizhekau, swift, onaunegoozzi lively, minwaindum happy, gushkwaindum, sorrowful, but all these forms are confined to the third person of the indicative, singular. Pibbigwau, is a rough or knotted substance. Pubbiggoozzi, a rough person. Keenwau is long, or tall, (any solid mass.) Kaynozid is a tall person. Tahkozid a short person. Wassayau is light; wassaubizzoo, the light of the eye; wasshauzhä, the light of a star, or any luminous body. Keenau is sharp, keenaubikud, a sharp knife, or stone. Keezhaubikeday, is hot metal, a hot stove, &c. Keezhaugummeda, is hot water. Aubudgeetön, is useful,—a useful thing. Wauweeug is frivolous, any thing frivolous in word, or deed. Tubbushish, appears to be a general term for low. Ishpimming is high in the air. Ishpau, is applied to any high fixture, as a house, &c. Ishpaubikau is a high rock. Taushkaubikau, a split rock.

These combinations and limitations meet the inquirer at every step. They are the current phrases of the language. They present short, ready, and often beautiful modes of expression. But as they shed light, both upon the idiom and genius of the language, I shall not scruple to add further examples and illustrations. Ask a Chippewa, the name for rock, and he will answer awzhebik. The generic import of aubik, has been explained. Ask him the name for red rock, and he will answer miskwaubik,—for white rock, and he will answer waubaubik, for black rock mukkuddäwaubik,—for yellow rock, ozahwaubik,—for green rock, ozhahwushkwaubik,—for bright rock, wassayaubik, for smooth rock, shoishkwaubik, &c., compounds in which the words red, white, black, yellow, &c., unite with aubik. Pursue this inquiry and the following forms will be elicited.

Miskwaubik-ud.It (is) a red rock.
Waubaubik-ud.It (is) a white rock.
Mukkuddäwaubik-ud.It (is) a black rock.
Ozahwaubik-ud.It (is) a yellow rock.
Wassayaubik-ud.It (is) a bright rock.
Shoiskwaubik-ud.It (is) a smooth rock.

Miskwaubik-izzi.He (is) a red rock.
Waubaubik-izzi.He (is) a white rock.
Mukkuddäwaubik-izzi.He (is) a black rock.
Ozahwaubik-izzi.He (is) a yellow rock.
Wassayaubik-izzi.He (is) a bright rock.
He (is) a smooth rock.

Add bun to these terms, and they are made to have passed away,—pre[Pg 271]fix tah to them, and their future appearance is indicated. The word "is" in the translations, although marked with brackets, is not deemed wholly gratuitous. There is, strictly speaking, an idea of existence given to these compounds, by the particle au in aubic, which seems to be indirectly a derivative from that great and fundamental root of the language iau. Bik, is, apparently, the radix of the expression for "rock."

Let this mode of interrogation be continued, and extended to other adjectives, or the same adjectives applied to other objects, and results equally regular and numerous will be obtained. Minnis, we shall be told, is an island: miskominnis, a red island; mukkaddäminnis, a black island; waubeminnis, a white island, &c. Annokwut, is a cloud; miskwaunakwut, a red cloud; mukkuddawukwut, a black cloud; waubahnokwut, a white cloud; ozahwushkwahnokwut, a blue cloud, &c. Neebe is the specific term for water; but is not generally used in combination with the adjective. The word guma, like aubo, appears to be a generic term for water, or potable liquids. Hence the following terms:—

Gitshee,Great.Gitshiguma,Great water.
Nokun,Weak.Nôkauguma,Weak drink.
Mushkowau,Strong.Mushkowauguma,Strong drink.
Weeshkobun,Sweet.Weeshkobauguma,Sweet drink.
Sheewun,Sour.Sheewauguma,Sour drink.
Weesugun,Bitter.Weesugauguma,Bitter drink.
Minno,Good.Minwauguma,Good drink.
MonaududBad.Mahnauguma,Bad drink.
Miskwau,Red.Miskwauguma,Red drink.
Ozahwau,Yellow.Ozahwauguma,Yellow drink.
Weenun,Dirty.Weenauguma,Dirty water.
Peenud,Clear.Peenauguma,Clear Water.

From minno, and from monaudud, good and bad, are derived the following terms. Minnopogwud, it tastes well; minnopogoozzi, he tastes well. Mauzhepogwud, it tastes bad; mawzhepogoozzi, he tastes bad. Minnomaugwud, it smells good; minnomaugoozzi, he smells good; magghemaugawud, it smells bad; mawhemaugoozzi, he smells bad. The inflections gwud, and izzi, here employed, are clearly indicative, as in other combinations, of the words it and him.

Baimwa is sound. Baimwäwa, the passing sound. Minwäwa, a pleasant sound. Maunwawa, a disagreeable sound. Mudwayaushkau, the sound of waves dashing on the shore. Mudwayaunnemud, the sound of winds. Mudway au kooskau, the sound of falling trees. Mudwäkumigishin, the sound of a person falling upon the earth. Mudwaysin, the sound of any inanimate mass falling on the earth. These examples might be continued ad infinitum. Every modification of circumstances—almost every peculiarity of thought is ex[Pg 272]pressed by some modification of the orthography. Enough has been given to prove that the adjective combines itself with the substantive, the verb and the pronoun—that the combinations thus produced are numerous, afford concentrated modes of conveying ideas, and oftentimes happy terms of expression. Numerous and prevalent as these forms are, they do not, however, preclude the use of adjectives in their simple forms. The use of the one, or of the other appears to be generally at the option of the speaker. In most cases brevity or euphony dictates the choice. Usage results from the application of these principles. There may be rules resting upon a broader basis, but if so, they do not appear to be very obvious. Perhaps the simple adjectives are oftenest employed before verbs and nouns, in the first and second persons singular.

Ningee minno neebau-nabun,I have slept well.
Ningee minno weesin,I have eaten a good meal.
Ningee minno pimmoossay,I have walked well, or a good distance.
Kägät minno geeghigud,It (is) a very pleasant day.
Kwunaudj ningödahs,I have a handsome garment.
Ke minno iau nuh?Are you well?
Auncende ain deyun?What ails you?
Keezhamonedo aupädushshäwainenik, God prosper you.
Aupädush Shäwaindaugoozzeyun,Good luck attend you.
Aupädush nau kinwainzh pimmaudizziyun,May you live long.
Onauneegoozzin,Be (thou) cheerful.
Ne miuwaindum waubumaun,I (am) glad to see you.
Kwanaudj Kweeweezains,A pretty boy.
Kägät Söngeedää,He (is) a brave man.
Kägät onishishsha,She (is) handsome.
Gitshee kinözee,He (is) very tall.
Uggausau bäwizzi,She (is) slender.
Gitshee sussaigau,He (is) fine dressed.
Bishegaindaugooziwug meegwunug,They (are) beautiful feathers.
Ke daukoozzinuh?Are you sick?
Monaudud maundun muskeekee,This (is) bad medicine.
Monaudud aindauyun,My place of dwelling (is) bad.
Aindauyaun mitshau,My place of dwelling is large.
Ne mittigwaub onishishsha,My bow (is) good.
Ne bikwukön monaududön,But my arrows (are) bad.
Ne minwaindaun appaukoozzegun,I love mild, or mixed, tobacco.
[Pg 273]Kauweekau neezhikay ussämau ne sugguswaunausee,But I never smoke pure tobacco.
Monaudud maishkowaugumig,Strong drink (is) bad.
Keeguhgee baudjeëgonaun,It makes us foolish.
Gitshee Monedo nebee ogee ozhetön,The Great Spirit made water.
Inineewug dush ween ishkädäwaubo ogeo ozhetönahwaun.But man made whiskey.

These expressions are put down promiscuously, embracing verbs and nouns as they presented themselves; and without any effort to support the opinion—which may, or may not be correct—that the elementary forms of the adjectives are most commonly required before verbs and nouns in the first and second persons. The English expression is thrown into Indian in the most natural manner, and of course, without always giving adjective for adjective, or noun for noun. Thus, God is rendered, not "Monedo," but, "Geezha Monedo," Merciful Spirit. Good luck, is rendered by the compound phrase "Shäwaindaugoozzeyun," indicating, in a very general sense the influence of kindness or benevolence on success in life. "Söngedää" is alone, a brave man; and the word "Kägät," prefixed, is an adverb. In the expression "mild tobacco," the adjective is entirely dispensed with in the Indian, the sense being sufficiently rendered by the compound noun "appaukoozzegun," which always means the Indian weed, or smoking mixture. "Ussamau," on the contrary, without the adjective, signifies, "pure tobacco." "Bikwakön," signifies blunt, or lumpy-headed arrows. Assowaun is the barbed arrow. Kwonaudj kweeweezains, means, not simply "pretty boy," but pretty little boy; and there is no mode of using the word boy but in this diminutive form—the word itself being a derivative, from kewewe, conjugal with the regular diminutive in ains. "Onaunegoozzin" embraces the pronoun, verb and adjective, be thou cheerful. In the last phrase of the examples, "man," is rendered men (inineewug) in the translation, as the term man cannot be employed in the general plural sense it conveys in this connection, in the original. The word "whiskey," is rendered by the compound phrase ishködawaubo, literally, fine-liquor, a generic for all kinds of ardent spirits.

These aberrations from the literal term, will convey some conceptions of the difference of the two idioms, although, from the limited nature and object of the examples, they will not indicate the full extent of this difference. In giving anything like the spirit of the original, much greater deviations, in the written forms, must appear. And in fact, not only the structure of the language, but the mode and order of thought of the Indians is so essentially different, that any attempts to preserve the English idiom—to give letter for letter, and word for word, must go far to render the translation pure nonsense.

[Pg 274]2. Varied as the adjective is, in its changes it has no comparative inflection. A Chippewa cannot say that one substance is hotter or colder than another; or of two or more substances unequally heated, that this, or that is the hottest or coldest, without employing adverbs, or accessory adjectives. And it is accordingly by adverbs, and accessory adjectives, that the degrees of comparison are expressed.

Pimmaudizziwin, is a very general substantive expression, in indicating the tenor of being or life. Izzhewäbizziwin, is a term near akin to it, but more appropriately applied to the acts, conduct, manner, or personal deportment of life. Hence the expressions:

Nin bimmaudizziwin,My tenor of life.
Ke bimmaudizziwin,Thy tenor of life.
O Pimmaudizziwin,His tenor of life, &c.
Nin dizekewäbizziwin,My personal deportment.
Ke dizhewäbizziwin,Thy personal deportment.
O Izzhewäbizziwin,His personal deportment, &c.

To form the positive degree of comparison for these terms minno, good, and mudjee, bad, are introduced between the pronoun and verb, giving rise to some permutations of the vowels and consonants, which affect the sound only. Thus:—

Ne minno pimmaudizziwin,My good tenor of life.
Ke minno pimmaudizziwin,Thy good tenor of life.
Minno pimmaudizziwin,His good tenor of life.
Ne mudjee pimmaudizziwin,My bad tenor of life.
Ke mudjee pimmaudizziwin,Thy bad tenor of life.
Mudjee pimmaudizziwin,His bad tenor of life.

To place these forms in the comparative degree, nahwudj, more, is prefixed to the adjective; and the superlative is denoted by mahmowee, an adverb, or an adjective as it is variously applied, but the meaning of which, is, in this connexion, most. The degrees of comparison may be therefore set down as follows:—

Positive,Kishedä,Hot, (restricted to the heat of a fire.)
Comp.Nahwudj Kishedä,More hot.
Super.Mahmowee Kishedä,Most hot.
Your manner of life is good,Ke dizzihewäbizziwin onishishin.
Your manner of life is better,Ke dizzhewäbizziwin nahwudj onishishin.
Your manner of life is best,Ke dizzhewäbizziwin mahmowee onishishin.
His manner of life is best,Odizzhewäbizziwin mahmowee onishishinine.
Little Turtle was brave,Mikkenoköns söngedääbun.
[Pg 275]Tecumseh was braver,Tecumseh nahwidj söngedääbun.
Pontiac was bravest,Pontiac mahmowee söngedääbun.

3. The adjective assumes a negative form when it is preceded by the adverb. Thus the phrase söngedää, he is brave, is changed to, Kahween söngedääsee, he is not brave.

Neebwaukah,Kahween neebwaukah-see,
    He is wise.    He is not wise.
Kwonaudjewe,Kahween kwonaudjewe-see,
    She is handsome.    She is not handsome.
Oskineegee,Kahween oskineegee-see,
    He is young.    He is not young.
Shaugweewee,Kahween Shaugweewee-see,
    He is feeble.    He is not feeble.
Geekkau,Kahween Geekkau-see
    He is old.    He is not old.
Mushkowizzi,Kahween Mushkowizzi-see
    He is strong.    He is not strong.

From this rule the indeclinable adjectives—by which is meant those adjectives which do not put on the personal and impersonal forms by inflection, but consist of radically different roots—form exceptions.

Are you sick?Ke dahkoozzi nuh?
You are not sick!Kahween ke dahkoozzi-see!
I am happy.Ne minwaindum.
I am unhappy.Kahween ne minwuinduz-see.
His manner of life is bad.Mudjee izzhewabizzi.
His manner of life is not bad.Kahween mudjee a izzhewabizzi-see.
It is large.Mitshau muggud.
It is not large.Kahween mitshau-seenön.

In these examples the declinable adjectives are rendered negative in see. The indeclinable, remain as simple adjuncts to the verbs, and the latter put on the negative form.

4. In the hints and remarks which have now been furnished respecting the Chippewa adjective, its powers and inflections have been shown to run parallel with those of the substantive, in its separation into animates and inanimates,—in having the pronominal inflections,—in taking an inflection for tense—(a topic, which, by the way, has been very cursorily passed over,) and in the numerous, modifications to form the compounds. This parallelism has also been intimated to hold good with respect to number—a subject deeply interesting in itself, as it has its analogy only in the ancient languages, and it was therefore deemed best to defer giving examples till they could be introduced without abstracting the attention from other points of discussion.

[Pg 276]Minno and mudjee, good and bad, being of the limited number of personal adjectives, which modern usage permits being applied, although often improperly applied, to inanimate objects, they as well as a few other adjectives, form exceptions to the use of number. Whether we say a good man or a bad man, good men or bad men, the words minno and mudjee, remain the same. But all the declinable and coalescing adjectives—adjectives which join on, and, as it were, melt into the body of the substantive, take the usual plural inflections, and are governed by the same rules in regard to their use, as the substantive, personal adjectives requiring personal plurals, &c.

Adjectives Animate.
Onishishewe mishemin,Good apple.
Kwonaudjewe eekwä,Handsome woman.
Songedää inine,Brave man.
Bishegaindaugoozzi peenasee,Beautiful bird.
Ozahwizzi ahmo,Yellow bee.
Onishishewe-wug mishemin-ug,Good apples.
Kwonaudjewe-wug eekwä-wug,Handsome women.
Songedää-wug inine-wug,Brave men.
Bishegaindaugoozzi-wug peenasee-wug,Beautiful birds.
Ozahwizzi-wug ahm-ög,Yellow bees.
Adjectives Inanimate.
Onishishin mittig,Good tree.
Kwonaudj tshemaun,Handsome canoe.
Monaudud ishkoda,Bad fire.
Weeshkobun aidetaig,Sweet fruit.
Onishishin-ön mittig-ön,Good trees.
Kwonaudjewun-ön tshemaun-un,Handsome canoes.
Monaudud-ön ishkod-än,Bad fires.
Weeshkobun-ön aidetaig-in,Sweet fruits.

Peculiar circumstances are supposed to exist, in order to render the use of the adjective, in this connexion with the noun, necessary and proper. But in ordinary instances, as the narration of events, the noun would precede the adjective, and oftentimes, particularly where a second allusion to objects previously named became necessary, the compound expressions would be used. Thus instead of saying the yellow bee, wäyzahwizzid, would distinctly convey the idea of that insect, had the species been before named. Under similar circumstances kainwaukoozzid, agau[Pg 277]sheid söngaunemud, mushkowaunemud, would respectively signify, a tall tree, a small fly, a strong wind, a hard wind. And these terms would become plural in jig, which, as before mentioned, is a mere modification of ig, one of the five general animate plural inflections of the language.

Kägat wahwinaudj abbenöjeeug, is an expression indicating they are very handsome children. Bubbeeweezheewug monetösug, denotes small insects. Minno neewugizzi, is good tempered, he is good tempered. Mawshininewugizzi, is bad tempered, both having their plural in wug. Nin nuneenahwaindum, I am lonesome. Nin nuneenahwaindaumin, we (excluding you) are lonesome. Waweea, is a term generally used to express the adjective sense of round. Kwy, is the scalp. (Weenikwy his scalp.) Hence Weewukwon, hat; Wayweewukwonid, a wearer of the hat; and its plural Wayeewukwonidjig, wearers of the hats—the usual term applied to Europeans, or white men generally. These examples go to prove, that under every form in which the adjective can be traced, whether in its simplest or most compound state, it is susceptible of number.

The numerals of the language are converted into adverbs, by the inflection ing, making one, once, &c. The unit exists in duplicate.

Päzhik, One, general unit}Aubeding, Once.
Ingoot, One, numerical unit
Neesh, Two.Neeshing, Twice.
Niswee, Three.Nissing, Thrice.
Neewin, Four.Neewing, Four-times.
Naunun, Five.Nauning, Five-times.
N´goodwaswä, Six.N´goodwautshing, Six-times.
Neeshwauswä, Seven.Neeshwautshing, Seven-times.
Shwauswe, Eight.Shwautshing, Eight-times.
Shongusswe, Nine.Shongutshing, Nine-times.
Meetauswee, Ten.Meetaushing, Ten-times.

These inflections can be carried as high as they can compute numbers. They count decimally. After reaching ten, they repeat, ten and one, ten and two, &c., to twenty. Twenty is a compound signifying two tens, thirty, three tens, &c., a mode which is carried up to one hundred, n´goodwak. Wak, then becomes the word of denomination, combining with the names of the digits, until they reach a thousand, meetauswauk, literally, ten hundred. Here a new compound term is introduced made by prefixing twenty to the last denomination, neshtonnah duswak, which doubles the last term, thirty triples it, forty quadruples it, &c., till the computation reaches to ten thousand, n´goodwak dushing n´goodwak, one hundred times one hundred. This is the probable extent of all certain computation. The term Gitshee, (great,) prefixed to the last denomination, leaves the number indefinite.

There is no form of the numerals corresponding to second, third, fourth, &c. They can only further say, nittum first, and ishkwaudj, last.

[Pg 278]


Nature and principles of the pronoun—Its distinction into preformative and subformative classes—Personal pronouns—The distinction of an inclusive and exclusive form in the number of the first person plural—Modifications of the personal pronouns to imply existence, individuality, possession, ownership, position and other accidents—Declension of pronouns to answer the purpose of the auxiliary verbs—Subformatives, how employed, to mark the persons—Relative pronouns considered—Their application to the causative verbs—Demonstrative pronouns—their separation into two classes, animates and inanimates—Example of their use.

Pronouns are buried, if we may so say, in the structure of the verb. In tracing them back to their primitive forms, through the almost infinite variety of modifications which they assume, in connexion with the verb, substantive and adjective, it will facilitate analysis, to group them into preformative and subformative, which include the pronominal prefixes and suffixes, and which admit of the further distinction of separable and inseparable. By separable is intended those forms, which have a meaning by themselves, and are thus distinguished from the inflective and subformative pronouns, and pronominal particles significant only, in connection with another word.

1. Of the first class, are the personal pronouns Neen (I,) Keen (thou,) and Ween or O (he or she.) They are declined to form the plural persons in the following manner:

I,Neen.WeKeen owind (in.)
WeNeen owind (ex.)
Thou,Keen.YeKeen owau.
He or She,Ween or O.TheyWeen owau.

Here the plural persons are formed by a numerical inflection of the singular. The double plural of the first person, of which both the rule and examples have been incidentally given in the remarks on the substantive, is one of those peculiarities of the language, which may, perhaps, serve to aid in a comparison of it, with other dialects, kindred and foreign. As a mere conventional agreement, for denoting whether the person addressed, be included, or excluded, it may be regarded as an advantage to the language. It enables the speaker, by the change of a single consonant, to make a full and clear discrimination, and relieves the narration[Pg 279] from doubts and ambiguity, where doubts and ambiguity would otherwise often exist. On the other hand, by accumulating distinctions, it loads the memory with grammatical forms, and opens a door for improprieties of speech. We are not aware of any inconveniences in the use of a general plural. But in the Indian it would produce confusion. And it is perhaps to that cautious desire of personal discrimination, which is so apparent in the structure of the language, that we should look for the reason of the duplicate forms of this word. Once established, however, and both the distinction, and the necessity of a constant and strict attention to it, are very obvious and striking. How shall he address the Deity? If he say—"Our father who art in heaven" the inclusive form of "our" makes the Almighty one of the suppliants, or family. If he use the exclusive form, it throws him out of the family, and may embrace every living being but the Deity. Yet, neither of these forms can be used well in prayer, as they cannot be applied directly to the object addressed. It is only when speaking of the Deity, under the name of father, to other persons, that the inclusive and exclusive forms of the word "our" can be used. The dilemma may be obviated, by the use of a compound descriptive phrase—Wä ö se mig o yun, signifying—THOU WHO ART THE FATHER OF ALL. Or, universal father.

In practice, however, the question is cut short, by those persons who have embraced Christianity. It has seemed to them, that by the use of either of the foregoing terms, the Deity would be thrown into too remote a relation to them, and I have observed, that, in prayer, they invariably address Him, by the term used by children for the father of a family, that is, Nosa, my father.

The other personal pronouns undergo some peculiar changes, when employed as preformatives before nouns and verbs, which it is important to remark. Thus neen, is sometimes rendered ne or nin, and sometimes nim. Keen, is rendered ke or kin. In compound words the mere signs of the first and second pronouns, N and K, are employed. The use of ween is limited; and the third person, singular and plural, is generally indicated by the sign, O.

The particle suh added to the complete forms of the disjunctive pronouns, imparts a verbal sense to them; and appears in this instance, to be a succedaneum for the substantive verb. Thus Neen, I, becomes Neensuh, it is I. Keen, thou, becomes Keensuh, it is thou, and Ween, he or she, Weensuh, it is he or she. This particle may also be added to the plural forms.

Keenowind suh.It is we (in.)
Neenowind suh.It is we (ex.)
Keenowa suh.It is ye, or you.
Weenowau suh.It is they.

[Pg 280]

If the word aittah be substituted for suh, a set of adverbial phrases are formed.

Neen aittah.I only.Neen aittah wind.We &c. (ex.)
Keen aittah wind,We &c. (in.)
Keen aittah,Thou only.Keen aittah wau,You &c.
Ween aittah,He or she only.Ween aittah wau,They &c.

In like manner nittum first, and ishkwaudj last, give rise to the following arrangement of the pronoun:

Neen nittum,I first.
Keen nittum,You or thou first.
Ween nittum,He or she first.
Keen nittum ewind,We first, (in.)
Neen nittum ewind,We first, (ex.)
Keen nittum ewau,Ye or you first.
Ween nittum ewau,They first.
Neen ishkwaudj,I last,
Keen ishkwaudj,Thou last.
Ween ishkwandj,He or she last.
Keenowind ishkwaudj,We last (in.)
Neenowind ishkwaudj,We last (ex.)
Keenowau ishkwaudj,Ye or you last.
Weenowau ishkwaudj,They last.

The disjunctive forms of the pronoun are also sometimes preserved before verbs and adjectives.

NEEZHIKA. Alone, (an.)
Neen neezhika,I alone.
Keen neezhika,Thou alone.
Ween neezhika,He or she alone.
Keenowind neezhika,We alone (in.)
Neenowind neezhika,We alone (ex.)
Keenowau neezhika,Ye or you alone.
Weenowau neezhika,They alone.

To give these expressions a verbal form, the substantive verb, with its pronominal modifications, must be superadded. For instance, I am alone, &c., is thus rendered:

Neen neezhika nindyau,I am alone, × aumin.
Keen neezhika keedyau,Thou art alone, × aum.
Ween neezhika Iyau,He or she is alone, &c., × wug.

In the subjoined examples the noun ow, body, is changed to a verb, by[Pg 281] the permutation of the vowel, changing ow to auw, which last takes the letter d before it, when the pronoun is prefixed.

I am a man,Neen nin dauw.
Thou art a man,Keen ke dauw.
He is a man,Ween ah weeh.
We are men, (in.)Ke dauw we min.
We are men, (ex.)Ne dauw we min.
Ye are men,Ke dauw min.
They are men,Weenowau ah weeh wug.

In the translation of these expressions "man" is used as synonymous with person. If the specific term inine, had been introduced in the original, the meaning thereby conveyed would be, in this particular connexion, I am a man with respect to courage &c., in opposition to effeminacy. It would not be simply declarative of corporeal existence, but of existence in a particular state or condition.

In the following phrases, the modified forms, or the signs only, of the pronouns are used:

N´ debaindaun,I own it.
Ke debaindaun,Thou ownest it.
O debaindaun,He or she owns it.
N´ debaindaun-in,We own it (ex.)
Ke debaindaun-in,We own it (in.)
Ke debaindaun-ewau.Ye own it.
O debaindaun-ewau,They own it.

These examples are cited as exhibiting the manner in which the prefixed and preformative pronouns are employed, both in their full and contracted forms. To denote possession, nouns specifying the things possessed, are required; and, what would not be anticipated, had not full examples of this species of declension been given in another place, the purposes of distinction are not effected by a simple change of the pronoun, as I to mine, &c., but by a subformative inflection of the noun, which is thus made to have a reflective operation upon the pronoun-speaker. It is believed that sufficient examples of this rule, in all the modifications of inflection, have been given under the head of the substantive. But as the substantives employed to elicit these modifications were exclusively specific in their meaning, it may be proper here, in further illustration of an important principle, to present a generic substantive under their compound forms.

I have selected for this purpose one of the primitives. Ie-aú, is the abstract term for existing matter. It is in the animate form and declarative. Its inanimate correspondent is IE-EÉ. These are two important roots. And they are[Pg 282] found in combination, in a very great number of derivative words. It will be sufficient here, to show their connexion with the pronoun, in the production of a class of terms in very general use.

Animate Forms.
Poss.{Nin dyë aum,Mine.Nin dyë auminaun,Ours, (ex.)
Ke dyë auminaun,Ours, (in.)
Ke dyë aum,Thine. Ke dyë aumewau,Yours.
Obj.O dyëaum-un,His or Hers.O dye aumewaun,Theirs.

Inanimate Forms.
Poss.{Nin dyë eem,Mine.Nin dyë eeminaun,Ours, (ex.)
Ke dyë eeminaun,Ours, (in.)
Ke dyë eem,Thine.Ke dyë eemewau,Yours.
Obj.xO dyë eem-un,His or Hers.O dyë eemewaun,Theirs. Poss. in.

In these forms the noun is singular throughout. To render it plural, as well as the pronoun, the appropriate general plurals ug and un or ig and in, must be superadded. But it must be borne in mind, in making these additions, "that the plural inflection to inanimate nouns (which have no objective case,) forms the objective case to animates, which have no number in the third person," [p. 30.] The particle un, therefore, which is the appropriate plural for the inanimate nouns in these examples, is only the objective mark of the animate.

The plural of I, is naun, the plural of thou and he, wau. But as these inflections would not coalesce smoothly with the possessive inflections, the connective vowels i. and e. are prefixed, making the plural of I, inaun, and of thou, &c., ewau.

If we strike from these declensions the root IE, leaving its animate and inanimate forms AU, and EE, and adding the plural of the noun, we shall then,—taking the animate declension as an instance, have the following formula of the pronominal declensions.

Pron. Sing.Place of the Noun.Possessive inflection.Obj. inflec. to the noun sing.Connect. vowel.Plu. inflec. of the pronoun.Obj. inflec. n. plu.Plural of the Noun
Ne——aum——— i ——naun———ig.
Ke——aum——— e ——wau———g.
O——aum——— e ——wau—n

To render this formula of general use, six variations, (five in addition[Pg 283] to the above) of the possessive inflection, are required, corresponding to the six classes of substantives, whereby aum would be changed to am, eem, im, öm, and oom, conformably to the examples heretofore given in treating of the substantive. The objective inflection, would also be sometimes changed to een and sometimes to oan.

Having thus indicated the mode of distinguishing the person, number, relation, and gender—or what is deemed its technical equivalent, the mutation words undergo, not to mark the distinctions of sex, but the presence or absence of vitality, I shall now advert to the inflections which the pronouns take for tense, or rather, to form the auxiliary verbs, have, had, shall, will, may, &c. A very curious and important principle, and one, which clearly demonstrates that no part of speech has escaped the transforming genius of the language. Not only are the three great modifications of time accurately marked in the verbal forms of the Chippewas, but by the inflection of the pronoun they are enabled to indicate some of the oblique tenses, and thereby to conjugate their verbs with accuracy and precision.

The particle gee added to the first, second, and third persons singular of the present tense, changes them to the perfect past, rendering I, thou, He, I did—have—or had. Thou didst,—hast—or hadst, He, or she did—have, or had. If gah, be substituted for gee, the first future tense is formed, and the perfect past added to the first future, forms the conditional future. As the eye may prove an auxiliary in the comprehension of forms, which are not familiar, the following tabular arrangement of them, is presented.

First Person, I.
Nin gee,I did—have—had.
Nin gah,I shall—will.
Nin gah gee,I shall have—will have.[Pg 284]

Second Person, Thou.
Ke gee,Thou didst—hast—hadst.
Ke gah,Thou shalt—wilt.
Ke gah gee,Thou shalt have—wilt have.

Third Person, He, or She.
O gee,He or she did—has—had.
O gah,He or she did—has—had.
O gah gee,He or she shall have—will have.

The present and imperfect tense of the potential mood, is formed by dau, and the perfect by gee, suffixed as in other instances.

First Person, I.
Nin dau,I may—can, &c.
Nin dau gee,I may have—can have, &c.
Second Person, Thou.
Ke dau,Thou mayst—canst, &c.
Ke dau gee,Thou mayst have—canst have, &c.
Third Person,  He, or She.
O dau,He or she may—can, &c.
O dau gee,He or she may have—can have, &c.

In conjugating the verbs through the plural persons, the singular terms for the pronoun remain, and they are rendered plural by a retrospective action of the pronominal inflections of the verb. In this manner the pronoun-verb auxiliary, has a general application, and the necessity of double forms is avoided.

The preceding observations are confined to the formative or prefixed pronouns. The inseparable suffixed or subformative are as follows—

Id, or d,His, or hers.
Yaung,Our. (ex.)
Yung,Our. (in.)

These pronouns are exclusively employed as suffixes,—and as suffixes to the descriptive compound substantives, adjectives and verbs. Both the rule and examples have been stated under the head of the substantive, p. 43. and adjective, p. 81. Their application to the verb will be shown, as we proceed.

2. Relative Pronouns. In a language which provides for the distinctions of person by particles prefixed or suffixed to the verb, it will scarcely be expected, that separate and independent relative pronouns should exist, or if such are to be found, their use, as separate parts of speech, must, it will have been anticipated, be quite limited—limited to simple interrogatory forms of expression, and not applicable to the indicative, or declaratory. Such will be found to be the fact in the language under review; and it will be perceived, from the subjoined examples, that in all instances, requiring the relative pronoun who, other than the simple interrogatory forms, this relation is indicated by the inflections of the verb, or adjective, &c. Nor does there appear to be any declension of the separate pronoun, corresponding to whose, and whom.

The word Ahwaynain, may be said to be uniformly employed in the sense of who, under the limitations we have mentioned. For instance.

[Pg 285]

Who is there?Ahwaynain e-mah ai-aud?
Who spoke?Ahwaynain kau keegœdood?
Who told you?Ahwaynain kau ween dumoak?
Who are you?Ahwaynain iau we yun?
Who sent you?Ahwaynain waynönik?
Who is your father?Ahwaynain kös?
Who did it?Ahwaynain kau tödung?
Whose dog is it?Ahwaynain way dyid?
Whose pipe is that?Ahwaynain döpwaugunid en-eu?
Whose lodge is it?Ahwaynain way weegewomid?
Whom do you seek?Ahwaynain nain dau wau bumud?
Whom have you here?Ahwaynain oh omau ai auwaud?

Not the slightest variation is made in these phrases, between who, whose, and whom.

Should we wish to change the interrogative, and to say, he who is there; he who spoke; he who told you, &c., the separable personal pronoun ween (he) must be used in lieu of the relative, and the following forms will be elicited.

Ween, kau unnönik,He (who) sent you.
Ween, kau geedood,He (who) spoke.
Ween, ai-aud e-mah,He (who) is there.
Ween, kau weendumoak,He (who) told you.
Ween, kau tö dung,He (who) did it, &c.

If we object that, that in these forms, there is no longer the relative pronoun who, the sense being simply, he sent you, he spoke, &c., it is replied that if it be intended only to say, he sent you, &c., and not he who sent you, &c., the following forms are used.

Ke gee unnönig,He (sent) you.
Ainnözhid,He (sent) me.
Ainnönaud,He (sent) him, &c.
Iau e-mau,He is there.
Ke geedo,He (spoke.)
Kegeeweendumaug,He (told) you.
Ke to dum,He did it.

We reply, to this answer of the native speaker, that the particle kau prefixed to a verb denotes the past tense,—that in the former series of terms, in which this particle appears, the verbs are in the perfect indicative,—and in the latter, they are in the present indicative, marking the difference only between sent and send, spoke and speak, &c. And that there is absolutely no relative pronoun, in either series of terms. We further observe, that the personal pronoun ween, prefixed to the first set of terms, may be prefixed with equal propriety, to the second set, and that its use or disuse, is perfectly optional with the speaker, as he may wish to give additional energy or emphasis to the expression. To these positions, after reflection, discussion and examination, we receive an assent, and thus the uncertainty is terminated.[Pg 286]

We now wish to apply the principle thus elicited to verbs causative, and other compound terms—to the adjective verbs, for instance—and to the other verbal compound expressions, in which the objective and the nominative persons, are incorporated as a part of the verb, and are not prefixes to it. This may be shown in the causative verb, To make Happy.

Mainwaindumëid,He (who) makes me happy.
Mainwaindumëik,He (who) makes thee happy.
Mainwaindumëaud,He (who) makes him happy.
Mainwaindumëinung,He (who) makes us happy. (inclusive.)
Mainwaindumëyaug,He (who) makes us happy. (exclusive.)
Mainwaindumëinnaig,He (who) makes ye or you happy.
Mainwaindumëigowaud,He (who) makes them happy.

And so the forms might be continued, throughout all the objective persons.—

Mainwaindumëyun,Thou (who) makest me happy, &c.

The basis of these compounds is minno, good, and aindum, the mind. Hence minwaindum, he happy. The adjective in this connexion, cannot be translated "good," but its effect upon the noun, is to denote that state of the mind, which is at rest with itself. The first change from this simple compound, is to give the adjective a verbal form; and this is effected by a permutation of the vowels of the first syllable—a rule of very extensive application—and by which, in the present instance, the phrase he happy, is changed to he makes happy, (mainwaindum.) The next step is to add the suffix personal pronouns, id, ik, aud, &c., rendering the expressions, he makes me happy, &c. But in adding these increments, the vowel e, is thrown between the adjective-verb, and the pronoun suffixed, making the expression, not mainwaindum-yun, but mainwaindumëyun. Generally the vowel e in this situation, is a connective, or introduced merely for the sake of euphony. And those who maintain that it is here employed as a personal pronoun, and that the relative who, is implied by the final inflection; overlook the inevitable inference, that if the marked e, stands for me in the first phrase, it must stand for thee in the second, he in the third, us in the fourth, &c. As to the meaning and office of the final inflections id, ik, &c.—whatever they may, in an involuted sense imply, it is quite clear, by turning to the list of suffixed personal pronouns and animate plurals, that they mark the persons, I, thou, he, &c., we, ye, they, &c.

Take for example, minwaindumëigowaud. He (who) makes them happy. Of this compound, minwaindum, as before shown, signifies he makes happy. But as the verb is in the singular number, it implies that but one person is made happy, and the suffixed personal pronouns singular, mark the distinctions between me, thee, and he, or him.

Minwaindum-e-ig is the verb plural, and implies that several per[Pg 287]sons are made happy, and, in like manner, the suffixed personal pronouns plural, mark the distinctions between we, ye, they, &c. For it is a rule of the language, that a strict concordance must exist between the number of the verb, and the number of the pronoun. The termination of the verb consequently always indicates, whether there be one or many objects, to which its energy is directed. And as animate verbs can be applied only to animate objects, the numerical inflections of the verb, are understood to mark the number of persons. But this number is indiscriminate, and leaves the sense vague, until the pronominal suffixes are superadded. Those who, therefore, contend for the sense of the relative pronoun "who," being given in the last mentioned phrase, and all phrases similarly formed, by a succedaneum, contend for something like the following form of translation:—He makes them happy—him! or Him—he (meaning who) makes them happy.

The equivalent for what, is Waygonain.

What do you want?Waygonain wau iauyun?
What have you lost?Waygonain kau wonetöyun?
What do you look for?Waygonain nain dahwaubundamun?
What is this?Waygonain ewinain maundun?
What will you have?Waygonain kau iauyun?
What detained you?Waygonain kau oon dahme egöyun?
What are you making?Waygonain wayzhetöyun?
What have you there?Waygonain e-mau iauyun?

The use of this pronoun, like the preceding, appears to be confined to simple interrogative forms. The word auneen, which sometimes supplies its place, or is used for want of the pronoun which, is an adverb, and has considerable latitude of meaning. Most commonly it may be considered as the equivalent for how, in what manner, or at what time.

What do you say?Auneen akeedöyun?
What do you call this?Auneen aizheneekaudahmun maundun? (i.)
What ails you?Auneen aindeeyun?
What is your name?Auneen aizheekauzoyun?
Which do you mean; this or that? (an.)Auneen ah-ow ainud, woh-ow gämau ewidde?
Which do you mean; this or that? (in.)Auneen eh-eu ewaidumun oh-oo gämau ewaidde?
Which boy do you mean?Auneen ah-ow-ainud?

By adding to this word, the particle de, it is converted into an adverb of place, and may be rendered where.

Where do you dwell?Auneende aindauyun?
Where is your son?Auneende ke gwiss?
Where did you see him?Auneende ke waubumud?

[Pg 288]

[Transcriber's Note: See note at end of text re original typesetting for this section of the text.]

becomes quite necessary in writing the language. And in the following sentences, the substantive is properly employed after the pronoun.

This dog is very lean,Gitshee bukaukdoozo woh-ow annemoosh.
These dogs are very lean,Gitshee bukauddoozowug o-goo annemooshug.
Those dogs are fat,Ig-eu annemooshug ween-in-oawug.
That dog is fat,Ah-ow annemoosh ween-in-ao.
This is a handsome knife,Gagait onishishin maundun mokomahn.
These are handsome knives,Gagait wahwinaudj o-noo mokomahnun.
Those are bad knives,Monaududön in-euwaidde mokomahnun.
Give me that spear,Meezhishin eh-eu ahnitt.
Give me those spears,Meezhishin in-eu unnewaidde ahnitteen.
That is a fine boy,Gagait kwonaudj ah-ow kweewezains.
Those are fine boys,Gagait wahwinaudj ig-euwaidde kweewezainsug.
This boy is larger than that,Nahwudj mindiddo woh-ow kweewezains ewaidde dush.
That is what I wanted,Meeh-eu wau iauyaumbaun.
This is the very thing I wanted,Mee-suh oh-oo wau iauyaumbaun.

In some of these expressions, the pronoun combines with an adjective, as in the compound words, ineuwaidde, and igeuwaidde, those yonder, (in.) and those yonder (an.) Compounds which exhibit the full pronoun in coalescence with the word Ewaidde yonder.


Columbus discovered the West Indies, Oct. 12, 1492.
Americo Vespucio, discovered the coast of South America, 1497.
Cabot discovered the North American coast, 1497.
De Leon discovered Florida, 1512.
Cortes, enters the city of Mexico, after a seige, Aug. 13, 1521.
Verrizani, is said to have entered the bay of New York, 1524.
Cartier discovered the St. Lawrence, 1534.
Jamestown, in Virginia, is founded, 1608.
Acknowledged date of the settlement of Canada, 1608.
Hudson discovers the river bearing his name, 1609.
The Dutch build a fort near Albany, 1614.
The Pilgrims land at Plymouth, Dec. 22, 1620.
New Amsterdam taken from the Dutch by the Duke of York and Albany and named New York, 1664.
La Salle discovers the Illinois in upper Louisiana, 1678; discovers Lower Louisiana, and is killed, 1685.

[Pg 289]


Ke-wa-kons, a chief of the straits of St. Mary's, told me, during an interview, in 1827, that but seven generations of red men had passed away, since the French first appeared on those straits. If we take the date of Cartier's first visit to the St. Lawrence, as the era of their acquaintance with this nation, A.D. 1534, we should have 56 years as the period of an Indian generation. Should we take, instead of this, the time of La Salle's first arrival on the upper lakes, 1778, there would, on the contrary, be but a fraction over 22 years for a generation. But neither of these periods, can be truly said to coincide with the probable era of the chief's historical reminiscences. The first is too early, the last too late. An average of the two, which is required to apply the observation properly, gives 38 years as the Indian generation. This nearly assimilates it to the results among Europeans, leaving 8 years excess. Further data would probably reduce this; but it is a department in which we have so little material, that we must leave it till these be accumulated. It may be supposed that the period of Indian longevity, before the introduction of ardent spirits, was equal, perhaps, a little superior, to that of the European; but it did not exceed it, we think, by 8 years.

Ke-wa-kons, whom I knew very well, was a man of shrewd sense, and respectable powers of observation. He stated, at the same interview, that his tribe, who were of the Odjibwa type of the Algonquins, laid aside their Akeeks, or clay cooking-vessels, at that time, and adopted in lieu of them, the light brass kettle, which was more portable and permanent. And from that time, their skill in pottery declined, until, in our day, it is entirely lost. It is curious to reflect, that within the brief period of 150 years, a living branch of coarse manufacture among them, has thus been transferred into an object of antiquarian research. This fact, should make historians cautious in assigning very remote periods of antiquity to the monumental evidences of by-gone generations.

It is by such considerations that we get a glimpse of some of the general principles which attended the early periods of discovery and settlement, in all parts of the continent. Adventurers came to find gold, or furs, to amass wealth, get power, or to perform mere exploits. Nobody cared much for the native race, beyond the fact of their being the medium to lead to these[Pg 290] specified objects. There were none, to record accurately, their arts, and other peculiarities, which now excite intense interest. They died away very fast, whole tribes becoming extinct within a generation or two. The European fabrics, then introduced, were so much superior to their own, that they, at once, discontinued such rude arts as they practised, at least in our northern latitudes. New adventurers followed in the track of Columbus, Amerigo, Cabot, and their compeers and followers, who, in the lapse of time, picked up, from the soil, pieces of coarse pottery, pestles and such like things, and holding them up, said,—"See these!—here are evidences of very great skill, and very high antiquity."

It is not the intention by any means, to assert, that there were not antiquities of a far higher era, and nobler caste, but merely to impress upon inquirers, the necessity of discriminating the different eras in the chronology of our antiquities. All Indian pottery, north of the capes of Florida and the Gulf of Mexico, is of, or preceding the era of the discovery; but there is found in graves, a species of pottery, and vitrified ware, which was introduced, in the early stages of traffic, by Europeans. Of this transition era between the dying away of the Indian arts, and the introduction of the European, are the rude pastes, enamel and glass beads, and short clay pipes of coarse texture, found in Indian cemeteries, but not in the tumuli. In place of these, our ancient Indians used wrought and unwrought sea shells of various species, and pipes carved out of steatites and other soft materials.

Mr. Anderson remarks in his biography of Catharine Brown, that "the Cherokees are said to possess a language, which is more precise and powerful than any into which learning has poured richness of thought, or genius breathed the enchantments of fancy and eloquence."

David Brown, in one of his letters, in the same volume, terms his people the Tsallakee, of which we must therefore take "Cherokee," to be a corruption. It is seen by the Cherokee alphabet, that the sound of r does not occur in that language.


When Chusco was converted to Christianity at the mission of Michilimackinac, he had planted a field of potatoes on one of the neighbouring islands in lake Huron. In the fall he went over in his canoe, with his aged wife, to dig them—a labour which the old woman set unceremoniously about, as soon as they got into the field. "Stop!" cried the little old man, who had a small tenor voice and was bent nearly double by age,—"dare you begin to dig, till we have thanked the Lord for their growth." They then both knelt down in the field, while he lifted up his voice, in his native language, in thanks.

[Pg 291]


The native tribes who occupy the borders of the great lakes, are very ingenious in converting to the uses of superstition, such masses of loose rock, or boulder stones, as have been fretted by the action of water into shapes resembling the trunks of human bodies, or other organic forms.

There appears, at all times, to have been a ready disposition to turn such masses of rude natural sculpture, so to call them, to an idolatrous use; as well as a most ingenious tact, in aiding the effect of the natural resemblance, by dots or dabs of paint, to denote eyes, and other features, or by rings of red ochre, around their circumference, by way of ornament.

In the following figures, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, some of these masses are represented.


Number 3. was brought to the office of the Indian Agent at Michilimackinac in 1839, and placed among objects of analogous interest to visiters. It consisted of a portion of a vein or mass of gneiss or granite, from which both mica and feldspar were nearly absent, existing only in trace, while the quartzy portion predominated, and had, by its superior hardness, resisted the elemental action. The mode of the formation of such masses is very well known to geologists, resulting, in almost every case, from the unequal degree of hardness of various parts of a mass, submitted to an equal force of attrition, such as is ordinarily given by the upheaving and rolling force of waves on a lake, or ocean beach. To the natives, who are not prone to reason from cause to effect, such productions appear wonderful. All that is past comprehension, or wonderful, is attributed by them to the supernatural agency of spirits. The hunter or[Pg 292] warrior, who is travelling along the coast, and finds one of these self-sculptured stones, is not sure that it is not a direct interposition of his God, or guardian Manito, in his favour. He is habitually a believer in the most subtle forms of mysterious power, which he acknowledges to be often delegated to the native priests, or necromancers. He is not staggered by the most extraordinary stretch of fancy, in the theory of the change or transformation of animate into inanimate objects, and vice versa. All things, "in heaven and earth," he believes to be subject to this subtle power of metamorphosis. But, whatever be the precise operating cause of the respect he pays to the imitative rolled stones, which he calls Shingaba-wossins, and also by the general phrase of Muz-in-in-a-wun, or images, he is not at liberty to pass them without hazarding something, in his opinion, of his chance of success in life, or the fortune of the enterprize in hand.

If the image be small, it is generally taken with him and secreted in the neighborhood of his lodge. If large and too heavy for this purpose, it is set up on the shore, generally in some obscure nook, where an offering of tobacco, or something else of less value, may be made to it, or rather through it, to the spirit.

In 1820 one of these stones (No. 2.) was met by an expedition of the government sent north, that year, for the purpose of interior discovery and observation, at the inner Thunder Bay island, in Lake Huron. It was a massy stone, rounded, with a comparatively broad base and entablature but not otherwise remarkable. It was set up, under a tree on the island, which was small, with the wide and clear expanse of the lake in plain view. The island was one of those which were regarded as desert, and was probably but seldom stopped at. It was, indeed, little more than a few acres of boulders and pebbles, accumulated on a limestone reef, and bearing a few stunted trees and shrubs. The water of the lake must, in high storms, have thrown its spray over this imaged stone. It was, in fine, one of those private places which an Indian might be supposed to have selected for his secret worship.

In No. 3. is figured an object of this kind, which was found in 1832, in the final ascent to the source of the Mississippi, on the right cape, in ascending this stream into lac Traverse—at the distance of about 1000 miles above the falls of St. Anthony. I landed at the point to see it, having heard, from my interpreter, that such an object was set up and dedicated to some unknown Manito there. It was a pleasant level point of land shaded with trees, and bearing luxuriant grass and wild shrubbery and flowers. In the middle of this natural parterre the stone was placed, and was overtopped by this growth, and thus concealed by it. A ring of red paint encircled it, at the first narrowed point of its circumference, to give it the resemblance of a human neck; and there were some rude dabs to denote other features. The Indian is not precise in the matter of[Pg 293] proportion, either in his drawing, or in his attempts at statuary. He seizes upon some minute and characteristic trait, which is at once sufficient to denote the species, and he is easily satisfied about the rest. Thus a simple cross, with a strait line from shoulder to shoulder, and a dot, or circle above, to serve for a head, is the symbol of the human frame; and without any adjunct of feet, or hands, it could not have been mistaken for any thing else—certainly for any other object in the animal creation.




The practice of the North American tribes, of drawing figures and pictures on skins, trees, and various other substances, has been noticed by travellers and writers from the earliest times. Among the more northerly tribes, these figures are often observed on that common substitute for the ancient papyrus, among these nations, the bark of the betula papyracea, or white birch: a substance possessing a smooth surface, easily impressed, very flexible, and capable of being preserved in rolls. Often these devices are cut, or drawn in colours on the trunks of trees, more rarely on rocks or boulders. According to Colden and Lafitou records of this rude character were formerly to be seen on the blazed surface of trees, along some of the ancient paths and portages leading from the sources of the Atlantic rivers into the interior, or in the valley of the St. Lawrence; but these, after satisfying a transient curiosity, have long since yielded to the general fate of these simple and unenduring monuments. Pictures and symbols of this kind are now to be found only on the unreclaimed borders of the great area west of the Alleghanies and the Lakes, in the wide prairies of the west, or along the Missouri and the upper Mississippi. It is known that such devices were in use, to some extent, at the era of the discovery, among most of the tribes, situated between the latitudes of the capes of Florida, and Hudson's Bay, although they have been considered as more particularly characteristic of the tribes of the Algonquin type. In a few instances, these pictorial inscriptions have been found to be painted or stained on the faces of rocks, or on loose boulders, and still more rarely, devices were scratched or pecked into the surface, as is found to be the case still at Dighton and Venango. Those who are intent[Pg 294] on observations of this kind, will find figures and rude hieroglyphics invariably at the present time, on the grave posts which mark the places of Indian sepulchre at the west and north. The nations who rove over the western prairies, inscribe them on the skins of the buffalo. North of latitude 42°, the bark of the birch, which furnishes at once the material of canoes, tents, boxes, water-dippers, and paper, constitutes the common medium of their exhibition. Tablets of hard wood are confined to such devices as are employed by their priests and prophets, and medicine men; and these characters uniformly assume a more mystical or sacred import. But the recent discovery, on one of the tributaries of the Susquehanna, of an Indian map, drawn on stone, with intermixed devices, a copy of which appears in the 1st volume of the collections of the Historical Committee of the American Philosophical Society, proves that stone was also employed in that branch of inscription. This discovery was on the area occupied by the Lenapees.

Colden, in his history of the Five Nations,[23] informs us that when, in 1696, the Count de Frontenac marched a well appointed army into the Iroquois country, with artillery and all other means of regular military offence, he found, on the banks of the Onondaga, now called Oswego river, a tree, on the trunk of which the Indians had depicted the French army, and deposited two bundles of cut rushes at its foot, consisting of 1434 pieces—an act of defiance on their part, which was intended to inform their invaders, that they would have to encounter this number of warriors. In speaking in another passage of the general traits of the Five Nations, he mentions the general custom prevalent among the Mohawks going to war, of painting, with red paint, on the trunk of a tree, such symbols, as might serve to denote the object of their expedition. Among the devices was a canoe pointed towards the enemies' country. On their return, it was their practice to visit the same tree, or precinct, and denote the result: the canoe being, in this case, drawn with its bows in the opposite direction. Lafitou, in his account of the nations of Canada, makes observations on this subject to which we shall more particularly refer hereafter, which denote the general prevalence of the custom in that quarter. Other writers, dating as far back as Smith and de Bre, bear a passing testimony to the existence of this trait among the northern tribes. Few have however done more than notice it, and none are known to have furnished any amount of connected details.

[23] London, 1747, p. 190.

A single element in the system attracted early notice. I allude to the institution of the Totem, which has been well known among the Algonquin tribes from the settlement of Canada. By this device, the early missionaries observed, that the natives marked their division of a tribe into clans, and of a clan into families, and the distinction was thus very clearly preserved. Affinities were denoted and kept up, long after tradi[Pg 295]tion had failed in its testimony. This distinction, which is marked with much of the certainty of heraldic bearings in the feudal system, was seen to mark the arms, the lodge, and the trophies of the chief and warrior. It was likewise employed to give identity to the clan of which he was a member, on his ad-je-da-teg or grave-post. This record went but little farther; a few strokes or geometric devices were drawn on these simple monuments, to denote the number of men he had slain in battle.

It has not been suspected in any notices to which I have had access, that there was a pictorial alphabet, or a series of homophonous figures, in which, by the juxtaposition of symbols representing acts, as well as objects of action, and by the introduction of simple adjunct signs, a series of disjunctive, yet generally connected ideas, were denoted; or that the most prominent incidents of life and death could be recorded so as to be transmitted from one generation to another, as long at least as the monument and the people endured. Above all, it was not anticipated that there should have been found, as will be observed in the subsequent details, a system of symbolic notation for the songs and incantations of the Indian metas and priests, making an appeal to the memory for the preservation of language.

Persons familiar with the state of the western tribes of this continent, particularly in the higher northern latitudes, have long been aware that the songs of the Indian priesthood, and wabenoes, were sung from a kind of pictorial notation, made on bark. It is a fact which has often come to the observation of military officers performing duties on those frontiers, and of persons exercising occasional duties in civil life, who have passed through their territories. But there is no class of persons to whom the fact of such notations being made, is so well known, as the class of Indian traders and interpreters who visit or reside a part of the season at the Indian villages. I have never conversed with any of this latter class of persons to whom the fact of such inscriptions, made in various ways, was not so familiar as in their view to excite no surprise or even demand remark.

My attention was first called to the subject in 1820. In the summer of that year I was on an exploring journey through the lake country. At the mouth of the small river Huron, on the banks of Lake Superior, there was an Indian grave fenced around with saplings, and protected with much care. At its head stood a post, or tabular stick, upon which was drawn the figure of the animal which was the symbol of the clan to which the deceased chief belonged. Strokes of red paint were added to denote, either the number of war parties in which he had been engaged, or the number of scalps which he had actually taken from the enemy. The interpreter who accompanied us, and who was himself tinctured with Indian blood, gave the latter, as the true import of these marks.

On quitting the river St. Louis, which flows into the head of the lake at the Fond du Lac, to cross the summit dividing its waters from those of[Pg 296] the Mississippi, the way led through heavy and dense woods and swamps, and the weather proved dark and rainy, so that, for a couple of days together, we had scarcely a glimpse of the sun.

The party consisted of sixteen persons, with two Indian guides; but the latter, with all their adroitness in threading the maze, were completely at fault for nearly an entire day. At night we lay down on ground elevated but a few inches above the level of the swamp. The next morning as we prepared to leave the camp, a small sheet of birch bark containing devices was observed elevated on the top of a sapling, some 8 or 10 feet high. One end of this pole was thrust firmly into the ground leaning in the direction we were to go. On going up to this object, it was found, with the aid of the interpreter, to be a symbolic record of the circumstances of our crossing this summit, and of the night's encampment at this spot. Each person was appropriately depicted, distinguishing the soldiers from the officer in command, and the latter from the scavans of the party. The Indians themselves were depicted without hats, this being, as we noticed, the general symbol for a white man or European. The entire record, of which a figure is annexed, accurately symbolized the circumstances, and they were so clearly drawn, according to their conventional rules, that the intelligence would be communicated thereby to any of their people who might chance to travel or wander this way. This was the object of the inscription.


Fig. No. 1. represents the subaltern officer in command of the party of the U.S. troops. He is drawn with a sword to denote his official[Pg 297] rank. No. 2 denotes the person who officiated in quality of Secretary. He is represented holding a book. No. 3 denotes the geologist and mineralogist of the party. He is drawn with a hammer. Nos. 4 and 5 are attachés; No. 6, the interpreter.

The group of figures marked 9 represents eight infantry soldiers, each of whom, as shown in group No. 10, was armed with a musket. No. 15 denotes that they had a separate fire, and constituted a separate mess. Figures 7 and 8 are the two Chippewa guides, the principal of whom, called Chamees, or the Pouncing-hawk, led the way over this dreary summit. These are the only human figures on this unique bark letter, who are drawn without a hat. This was the characteristic seized on, by them, and generally employed by the tribes, to distinguish the Red from the white race. Figures 11 and 12 represent a prairie hen, and a green tortoise, which constituted the sum of the preceding day's chase, and were eaten at the encampment. The inclination of the pole, was designed to show the course pursued from that particular spot: there were three hacks in it, below the scroll of bark, to indicate the estimated length of this part of the journey, computing from water to water, that is to say, from the head of the portage Aux Couteaux on the St. Louis river, to the open shores of Sandy lake, the Ka-ma-ton-go-gom-ag of the Odjibwas.

The story was thus briefly and simply told; and this memorial was set up by the guides, to advertise any of their countrymen, who might chance to wander in that direction, of the adventure—for it was evident, both from this token, and from the dubiousness which had marked the prior day's wanderings, that they regarded the passage in this light, and were willing to take some credit for the successful execution of it.

Before we had penetrated quite to this summit, we came to another evidence of their skill in this species of knowledge, consisting of one of those contrivances which they denominate Man-i-to-wa-teg, or Manito Poles. On reaching this our guides shouted, whether from a superstitious impulse, or the joy of having found a spot they certainly could recognize, we could not tell. We judged the latter. It consisted of eight poles, of equal length, shaved smooth and round, painted with yellow ochre, and set so as to enclose a square area. It appeared to have been one of those rude temples, or places of incantation or worship, known to the metas, or priests, where certain rites and ceremonies are performed. But it was not an ordinary medicine lodge. There had been far more care in its construction.

On reaching the village of Sandy lake, on the upper Mississippi, the figures of animals, birds, and other devices were found, on the rude coffins, or wrappings of their dead, which were scaffolded around the precincts of the fort, and upon the open shores of the lake. Similar devices were also observed, here, as at other points in this region, upon their[Pg 298] arms, war-clubs, canoes, and other pieces of moveable property, as well as upon their grave posts.

In the descent of the Mississippi, we observed such devices painted on a rock, below and near the mouth of Elk river, and at a rocky island in the river, at the Little Falls. In the course of our descent to the Falls at St. Anthony, we observed another bark letter, as the party now began to call these inscriptions, suspended on a high pole, on an elevated bank of the river, on its west shore. At this spot, where we encamped for the night, and which is just opposite a point of highly crystalized hornblende rock, called the Peace Rock, rising up through the prairie, there were left standing the poles or skeletons of a great number of Sioux lodges. It is near and a little west of the territorial boundary of the Sioux nation; and on inspecting this scroll of bark, we found it had reference to a negotiation for bringing about a permanent peace between the Sioux and Chippewas. A large party of the former, from St. Peter's, headed by their chief, had proceeded thus far, in the hope of meeting the Chippewa hunters, on their summer hunt. They had been countenanced, or directed in this step, by Col. Leavenworth, the commanding officer of the new post, just then about to be erected. The inscription, which was read off at once, by the Chippewa Chief Babesacundabee, who was with us, told all this; it gave the name of the Chief who had led the party, and the number of his followers, and gave that chief the first assurance he had, that his mission for the same purpose, would be favourably received.

After our arrival at St. Anthony's Falls, it was found that this system of picture writing was as familiar to the Dacotah, as we had found it among the Algonquin race. At Prairie du Chien, and at Green Bay, the same evidences were observed among the Monomonees, and the Winnebagoes, at Chicago among the Pottowottomies, and at Michilimakinac, among the Chippewas and Ottawas who resort, in such numbers, to that Island. While at the latter place, on my return, I went to visit the grave of a noted chief of the Monomonee tribe, who had been known by his French name of Toma, i.e. Thomas. He had been buried on the hill west of the village; and on looking at his Ad-je-da-tig or grave post, it bore a pictorial inscription, commemorating some of the prominent achievements of his life.

These hints served to direct my attention to the subject when I returned to the country in 1822. The figures of a deer, a bear, a turtle, and a crane, according to this system, stand respectively for the names of men, and preserve the language very well, by yielding to the person conversant with it, the corresponding words, of Addick, Muckwa, Mickenock, and Adjeejauk. Marks, circles, or dots, of various kinds, may symbolize the number of warlike deeds. Adjunct devices may typify or explain adjunct acts. If the system went no farther, the record would yield a kind of information both gratifying and useful to one of his countrymen who had[Pg 299] no letters and was expert in the use of symbols; and the interpretation of it, would be easy and precise in proportion as the signs were general, conventional, and well understood. There was abundant evidence in my first year's observation, to denote that this mode of communication was in vogue, and well understood by the northern tribes; but it hardly seemed susceptible of a farther or extended use. It was not till I had made a personal acquaintance with one of their Metas—a man of much intelligence, and well versed in their customs, religion, and history, that a more enlarged application of it appeared to be practicable. I observed in the hands of this man a tabular piece of wood, covered over on both sides, with a series of devices cut between parallel lines, which he referred to, as if they were the notes of his medicine and mystical songs. I heard him sing these songs, and observed that their succession was fixed and uniform. By cultivating his acquaintance, and by suitable attention and presents, such as the occasion rendered proper, he consented to explain the meaning of each figure, the object symbolized, and the words attached to each symbol. By this revelation, which was made with closed doors, I became a member or initiate of the Medicine Society, and also of the Wabeno Society. Care was taken to write each sentence of the songs and chants in the Indian language, with its appropriate devices, and to subjoin a literal translation in English. When this had been done, and the system considered, it was very clear that the devices were mnemonic—that any person could sing from these devices, very accurately, what he had previously committed to memory, and that the system revealed a curious scheme of symbolic notation.

All the figures thus employed, as the initiatory points of study, related exclusively to either the medicine dance, or the wabeno dance; and each section of figures, related exclusively to one or the other. There was no intermixture or commingling of characters, although the class of subjects were sometimes common to each. It was perceived, subsequently, that this classification of symbols extended to the songs devoted to war, to hunting, and to other specific topics. The entire inscriptive system, reaching from its first rudimental characters, in the ad-je-da-tig, or grave board, to the extended roll of bark covered with the inscriptions of their magicians and prophets, derived a new interest from this feature. It was easy to perceive that much comparative precision was imparted to interpretations in the hands of the initiated, which before, or to others, had very little. An interest was thus cast over it distinct from its novelty. And in truth, the entire pictorial system was thus invested with the character of a subject of accurate investigation, which promised both interest and instruction.

It has been thought that a simple statement of these circumstances, would best answer the end in view, and might well occupy the place of a more formal or profound introduction. In bringing forward the elements[Pg 300] of the system, after much reflection, it is thought, however, that a few remarks on the general character of this art may not be out of place. For, simple as it is, we perceive in it the native succedaneum for letters. It is not only the sole graphic mode they have for communicating ideas, but it is the mode of communicating all classes of ideas commonly entertained by them—such as their ideas of war, of hunting, of religion, and of magic and necromancy. So considered, it reveals a new and unsuspected mode of obtaining light on their opinions of a deity, of the structure or cosmogony of the globe, of astronomy, the various classes of natural objects, their ideas of immortality and a future state, and the prevalent notions of the union of spiritual and material matter. So wide and varied, indeed, is the range opened by the subject, that we may consider the Indian system of picture writing as the thread which ties up the scroll of the Red man's views of life and death, reveals the true theory of his hopes and fears, and denotes the relation he bears, in the secret chambers of his own thoughts, to his Maker. What a stoic and suspicious temper would often hold him back from uttering to another, and what a limited language would sometimes prevent his fully revealing, if he wished, symbols and figures can be made to represent and express. The Indian is not a man prone to describe his god, but he is ready to depict him, by a symbol. He may conceal under the figures of a serpent, a turtle, or a wolf, wisdom, strength, or malignity, or convey under the picture of the sun, the idea of a supreme, all-seeing intelligence. But he is not prepared to discourse upon these things. What he believes on this head, he will not declare to a white man or a stranger. His happiness and success in life, are thought to depend upon the secrecy of that knowledge of the Creator and his system in the Indian view of benign and malignant agents. To reveal this to others, even to his own people, is, he believes, to expose himself to the counteracting influence of other agents known to his subtle scheme of necromancy and superstition, and to hazard success and life itself. This conduces to make the Red man eminently a man of fear, suspicion, and secrecy. But he cannot avoid some of these disclosures in his pictures and figures. These figures represent ideas—whole ideas, and their juxtaposition or relation on a roll of bark, a tree, or a rock, discloses a continuity of ideas. This is the basis of the system.

Picture writing is indeed the literature of the Indians. It cannot be interpreted, however rudely, without letting one know what the Red man thinks and believes. It shadows forth the Indian intellect, it stands in the place of letters for the Unishinaba.[24] It shows the Red man in all periods of our history, both as he was, and as he is; for there is nothing more true than that, save and except the comparatively few instances where they have truly embraced experimental Christianity, there has not

[Transcriber's Note: Text ends abruptly here in the original publication.]

[24] A generic term denoting the common people of the Indian race.

[Pg 301]


This gigantic tumulus, the largest in the Ohio valley, was opened some four or five years ago, and found to contain some articles of high antiquarian value, in addition to the ordinary discoveries of human bones, &c. A rotunda was built under its centre, walled with brick, and roofed over, and having a long gallery leading into it, at the base of the mound. Around this circular wall, in the centre of this heavy and damp mass of earth, with its atmosphere of peculiar and pungent character, the skeletons and other disinterred articles, are hung up for the gratification of visiters, the whole lighted up with candles, which have the effect to give a strikingly sepulchral air to the whole scene. But what adds most to this effect, is a kind of exuded flaky matter, very white and soft, and rendered brilliant by dependent drops of water, which hangs in rude festoons from the ceiling.

To this rotunda, it is said, a delegation of Indians paid a visit a year or two since. In the "Wheeling Times and Advertiser" of the 30th August 1843, the following communication, respecting this visit, introducing a short dramatic poem, was published.

"An aged Cherokee chief who, on his way to the west, visited the rotunda excavated in this gigantic tumulus, with its skeletons and other relics arranged around the walls, became so indignant at the desecration and display of sepulchral secrets to the white race, that his companions and interpreter found it difficult to restrain him from assassinating the guide. His language assumed the tone of fury, and he brandished his knife, as they forced him out of the passage. Soon after, he was found prostrated, with his senses steeped in the influence of alcohol.

"'Tis not enough! that hated race
Should hunt us out, from grove and place
And consecrated shore—where long
Our fathers raised the lance and song—
'Tis not enough!—that we must go
Where streams and rushing fountains flow
Whose murmurs, heard amid our fears,
Fall only on a stranger's ears—
'Tis not enough!—that with a wand,
They sweep away our pleasant land,
And bid us, as some giant-foe,
Or willing, or unwilling go!
But they must ope our very graves
To tell the dead—they too, are slaves."

[Pg 302]


Ontario, is a word from the Wyandot, or, as called by the Iroquois, Quatoghie language. This tribe, prior to the outbreak of the war against them, by their kindred the Iroquois, lived on a bay, near Kingston, which was the ancient point of embarkation and debarkation, or, in other words, at once the commencement and the terminus of the portage, according to the point of destination for all, who passed into or out of the lake. From such a point it was natural that a term so euphonous, should prevail among Europeans, over the other Indian names in use. The Mohawks and their confederates, generally, called it Cadaracqui—which was also their name for the St. Lawrence. The Onondagas, it is believed, knew it, in early times, by the name of Oswego.[25] Of the meaning of Ontario, we are left in the dark by commentators on the Indian. Philology casts some light on the subject. The first syllable, on, it may be observed, appears to be the notarial increment or syllable of Onondio, a hill. Tarak, is clearly, the same phrase, written darac, by the French, in the Mohawk compound of Cadaracqui; and denotes rocks, i. e. rocks standing in the water. In the final vowels io, we have the same term, with the same meaning which they carry in the Seneca, or old Mingo word Ohio.[26] It is descriptive of an extended and beautiful water prospect, or landscape. It possesses all the properties of an exclamation, in other languages, but according to the unique principles of the Indian grammar, it is an exclamation-substantive. How beautiful! [the prospect, scene present.]

[25] Vide a Reminiscence of Oswego.

[26] The sound of i in this word, as in Ontario, is long e in the Indian.

Erie is the name of a tribe conquered or extinguished by the Iroquois. We cannot stop to inquire into this fact historically, farther than to say, that it was the policy of this people to adopt into their different tribes of the confederacy, the remnants of nations whom they conquered, and that it was not probable, therefore, that the Eries were annihilated. Nor is it probable that they were a people very remote in kindred and language from the ancient Sinondowans, or Senecas, who, it may be supposed, by crushing them, destroyed and exterminated their name only, while they strengthened their numbers by this inter-adoption. In many old maps, this lake bears the name of Erie or "Oskwago."

Huron, is the nom de guerre of the French, for the "Yendats," as they are called in some old authors, or the Wyandots. Charlevoix tells us that it is a term derived from the French word hure, [a wild boar,] and was applied to this nation from the mode of wearing their hair. "Quelles Hures!" said the first visiters, when they saw them, and hence, according to this respectable author, the word Huron.

[Pg 303]When this nation, with their confederates, the Algonquins, or Adirondaks, as the Iroquois called them, were overthrown in several decisive battles on the St. Lawrence, between Montreal and Quebec, and compelled to fly west; they at first took shelter in this lake, and thus transferred their name to it. With them, or at least, at the same general era, came some others of the tribes who made a part of the people called by the French, Algonquins, or Nipercineans, and who thus constituted the several tribes, speaking a closely cognate language, whose descendants are regarded by philologists, as the modern Lake-Algonquins.

The French sometimes called this lake Mer douce, or the Placid sea. The Odjibwas and some other northern tribes of that stock, call it Ottowa lake. No term has been found for it in the Iroquois language, unless it be that by which they distinguished its principal seat of trade, negociation and early rendezvous, the island of Michilimackinac, which they called Tiedonderaghie.

Michigan is a derivative from two Odjibwa-Algonquin words, signifying large, i.e. large in relation to masses in the inorganic kingdom, and a lake. The French called it, generally, during the earlier periods of their transactions, the lake of the Illinese, or Illinois.

Superior, the most northwesterly, and the largest of the series, is a term which appears to have come into general use, at a comparatively early era, after the planting of the English colonies. The French bestowed upon it, unsuccessfully, one or two names, the last of which was Traci, after the French minister of this name. By the Odjibwa-Algonquins, who at the period of the French discovery, and who still occupy its borders, it is called Gitch-Igomee, or The Big Sea-water; from Gitchee, great, and guma, a generic term for bodies of water. The term IGOMA, is an abbreviated form of this, suggested for adoption.

The poetry of the Indians, is the poetry of naked thought. They have neither rhyme, nor metre to adorn it.

Tales and traditions occupy the place of books, with the Red Race.—They make up a kind of oral literature, which is resorted to, on long winter evenings, for the amusement of the lodge.

The love of independence is so great with these tribes, that they have never been willing to load their political system with the forms of a regular government, for fear it might prove oppressive.

To be governed and to be enslaved, are ideas which have been confounded by the Indians.

[Pg 304]



These Extracts are made from "Cyclopædia Indiaensis" a MS. work in preparation.

No. I.

Hudson River.—By the tribes who inhabited the area of the present County of Dutchess, and other portions of its eastern banks, as low down as Tappan, this river was called Shatemuc—which is believed to be a derivative from Shata, a pelican. The Minisi, who inhabited the west banks, below the point denoted, extending indeed over all the east half of New Jersey, to the falls of the Raritan, where they joined their kindred the Lenni Lenape, or Delawares proper, called it Mohicanittuck—that is to say, River of the Mohicans. The Mohawks, and probably the other branches of the Iroquois, called it Cahohatatea—a term of which the interpreters who have furnished the word, do not give an explanation. The prefixed term Caho, it may be observed, is their name for the lower and principal falls of the Mohawk. Sometimes this prefix was doubled, with the particle ha, thrown in between. Hatatea is clearly one of those descriptive and affirmative phrases representing objects in the vegetable and mineral kingdoms, which admitted as we see, in other instances of their compounds, a very wide range. By some of the more westerly Iroquois, the river was called Sanataty.

Albany.—The name by which this place was known to the Iroquois, at an early day, was Schenectady, a term which, as recently pronounced by a daughter of Brant, yet living in Canada, has the still harsher sound of Skoh-nek-ta-ti, with a stress on the first, and the accent strongly on the second syllable, the third and fourth being pronounced rapidly and short. The transference of this name, to its present location, by the English, on the bestowal on the place by Col. Nichols, of a new name, derived from the Duke of York's Scottish title, is well known, and is stated, with some connected traditions, by Judge Benson, in his eccentric memoir before the New York Historical Society. The meaning of this name, as derived from the authority above quoted, is Beyond the Pines, having been applied exclusively in ancient times, to the southern end of the ancient portage path, from the Mohawk to the Hudson. By the Minci, who did not live here, but extended, however, on the west shore above Coxackie, and even Coeymans, it appears to have been called Gaishtinic. The Mohegans, who long continued to occupy the present area of Rensselaer and Columbia counties, called it Pempotawuthut, that is to say, the City or Place of the Council Fire. None of these terms appear to have[Pg 305] found favour with the European settlers, and, together with their prior names of Beaverwyck and Fort Orange, they at once gave way, in 1664, to the present name. A once noted eminence, three miles west, on the plains, i.e. Trader's Hill, was called Isutchera, or by prefixing the name for a hill, Yonondio Isutchera. It means the hill of oil. Norman's Kill, which enters the Hudson a little below, the Mohawks called Towasentha, a term which is translated by Dr. Yates, to mean, a place of many dead.

Niagara.—It is not in unison, perhaps, with general expectation, to find that the exact translation of this name does not entirely fulfil poetic preconception. By the term O-ne-aw-ga-ra, the Mohawks and their co-tribes described on the return of their war excursions, the neck of water which connects lake Erie with Ontario. The term is derived from their name for the human neck. Whether this term was designed to have, as many of their names do, a symbolic import, and to denote the importance of this communication in geography, as connecting the head and heart of the country, can only be conjectured. Nor is it, in this instance, probable. When Europeans came to see the gigantic falls which marked the strait, it was natural that they should have supposed the name descriptive of that particular feature, rather than the entire river and portage. We have been assured, however, that it is not their original name for the water-fall, although with them, as with us, it may have absorbed this meaning.

Buffalo.—The name of this place in the Seneca, is Te-ho-sa-ro-ro. Its import is not stated.

Detroit.—By the Wyandots, this place is called Teuchsagrondie; by the Lake tribes of the Algic type, Wa-we-á-tun-ong: both terms signify the Place of the turning or Turned Channel. It has been remarked by visiters who reach this place at night, or in dark weather, or are otherwise inattentive to the courses, that owing to the extraordinary involutions of the current the sun appears to rise in the wrong place.

Chicago.—This name, in the Lake Algonquin dialects, to preserve the same mode of orthography, is derived from Chicagowunzh, the wild onion or leek. The orthography is French, as they were the discoverers and early settlers of this part of the west. Kaug, in these dialects is a porcupine, and She kaug a polecat. The analogies in these words are apparent, but whether the onion was named before or after the animal, must be judged if the age of the derivation be sought for.

Tuscaloosa, a river of Alabama. From the Chacta words tushka, a warrior, and lusa black.—[Gallatin.]

Aragiske, the Iroquois name for Virginia.

Assarigoa, the name of the Six Nations for the Governor of Virginia.

Owenagungas, a general name of the Iroquois for the New England Indians.

Oteseonteo, a spring which is the head of the river Delaware.

[Pg 306]Ontonagon, a considerable river of lake Superior, noted from early times, for the large mass of native copper found on its banks. This name is said to have been derived from the following incident. It is known that there is a small bay and dead water for some distance within its mouth. In and out of this embayed water, the lake alternately flows, according to the influence of the winds, and other causes, upon its level. An Indian woman had left her wooden dish, or Onagon, on the sands, at the shore of this little bay, where she had been engaged. On coming back from her lodge, the outflowing current had carried off her valued utensil. Nia Nin-do-nau-gon! she exclaimed, for it was a curious piece of workmanship. That is to say—Alas! my dish!

Chuah-nah-whah-hah, or Valley of the Mountains. A new pass in the Rocky Mountains, discovered within a few years. It is supposed to be in N. latitude about 40°. The western end of the valley gap is 30 miles wide, which narrows to 20 at its eastern termination, it then turns oblique to the north, and the opposing sides appear to close the pass, yet there is a narrow way quite to the foot of the mountain. On the summit there is a large beaver pond, which has outlets both ways, but the eastern stream dries early in the season, while there is a continuous flow of water west. In its course, it has several beautiful, but low cascades, and terminates in a placid and delightful stream. This pass is now used by emigrants.

Aquidneck.—The Narragansett name for Rhode Island. Roger Williams observes, that he could never obtain the meaning of it from the natives. The Dutch, as appears by a map of Novi Belgii published at Amsterdam in 1659, called it Roode Eylant, or Red Island, from the autumnal colour of its foliage. The present term, as is noticed, in Vol. III. of the Collections of the R.I. Hist. Soc. is derived from this.

Incapatchow, a beautiful lake in the mountains at the sources of the river Hudson.—[Charles F. Hoffman, Esq.]

Housatonic, a river originating in the south-western part of Massachusetts, and flowing through the State of Connecticut into Long Island Sound, at Stratford. It is a term of Mohegan origin. This tribe on retiring eastward from the banks of the Hudson, passed over the High-lands, into this inviting valley. We have no transmitted etymology of the term, and must rely on the general principles of their vocabulary. It appears to have been called the valley of the stream beyond the Mountains, from ou, the notarial sign of wudjo, a mountain, atun, a generic phrase for stream or channel, and ic, the inflection for locality.

Wea-nud-nec.—The Indian name, as furnished by Mr. O'Sullivan, [D. Rev.] for Saddle Mountain, Massachusetts. It appears to be a derivative from Wa-we-a, round, i. e. any thing round or crooked, in the inanimate creation.

Ma-hai-we.—The Mohegan term, as given by Mr. Bryant [N.Y.E.P.] for Great Barrington, Berkshire County, Massachusetts.

[Pg 307]Massachusetts.—This was not the name of a particular tribe, but a geographical term applied, it should seem, to that part of the shores of the North Atlantic, which is swept by the tide setting into, and around the peninsula of Cape Cod, and the wide range of coast trending southerly. It became a generic word, at an early day, for the tribes who inhabited this coast. It is said to be a word of Narragansett origin, and to signify the Blue Hills. This is the account given of it by Roger Williams, who was told, by the Indians, that it had its origin from the appearance of an island off the coast. It would be more in conformity to the general requisitions of ethnography, to denominate the language the New England-Algonquin, for there are such great resemblances in the vocabulary and such an identity in grammatical construction, in these tribes, that we are constantly in danger, by partial conclusions as to original supremacy, of doing injustice. The source of origin was doubtless west and south west, but we cannot stop at the Narragansetts, who were themselves derivative from tribes still farther south. The general meaning given by Williams seems, however, to be sustained, so far as can now be judged. The terminations in ett, and set, as well as those in at and ak, denoted locality in these various tribes. We see also, in the antipenultimate Chu, the root of Wudjo, a mountain.

Ta-ha-wus, a very commanding elevation, several thousand feet above the sea, which has of late years, been discovered at the sources of the Hudson, and named Mount Marcy. It signifies, he splits the sky.—[Charles F. Hoffman, Esq.]

Mong, the name of a distinguished chief of New England, as it appears to be recorded in the ancient pictorial inscription on the Dighton Rock, in Massachusetts, who flourished before the country was colonized by the English. He was both a war captain, and a prophet, and employed the arts of the latter office, to increase his power and influence, in the former. By patient application of his ceremonial arts, he secured the confidence of a large body of men, who were led on, in the attack on his enemies, by a man named Piz-hu. In this onset, it is claimed that he killed forty men, and lost three. To the warrior who should be successful, in this enterprize, he had promised his younger sister. [Such are the leading events symbolized by this inscription, of which extracts giving full details, as interpreted by an Indian chief, now living, and read before the Am. Ethnological Society, in 1843, will be furnished, in a subsequent number.]

Tioga.—A stream, and a county of the State of New-York. From Teoga, a swift current, exciting admiration.

Dionderoga, an ancient name of the Mohawk tribe, for the site at the mouth of the Schoharie creek, where Fort Hunter was afterwards built [Col. W.L. Stone.]

Almouchico, a generic name of the Indians for New England, as printed[Pg 308] on the Amsterdam map of 1659, in which it is stated that it was thus "by d inwoonders genaemt." (So named by the natives.)

Irocoisia, a name bestowed in the map, above quoted, on that portion of the present state of Vermont, which lies west of the Green Mountains, stretching along the eastern bank of Lake Champlain. By the application of the word, it is perceived that the French were not alone in the use they made of the apparently derivative term "Iroquois," which they gave to the (then) Five Nations.


The following are the names of the four seasons, in the Odjibwa tongue:

Se-gwun,Spring,"Seeg,Running water.
Ne-bin,Summer,"Anib,A leaf.
Ta-gwá-gi,Autumn,"Gwag,The radix of behind &c.

By adding the letter g to these terms, they are placed in the relation of verbs in the future tense, but a limited future, and the terms then denote next winter, &c. Years, in their account of time, are counted by winters. There is no other term, but pe-boan, for a year. The year consists of twelve lunar months, or moons. A moon is called Geézis, or when spoken of in contradistinction to the sun, Dibik Geézis, or night-sun.

The cardinal points are as follows.

(a)North,Ke wá din-ung.
(b)South,O shá wan-ung.
(c)East,Wá bun-ung.
(d)West,Ká be un-ung.

a. Kewadin is a compound derived from Ke-wa, to return, or come home, and nodin, the wind. b. Oshauw is, from a root not apparent, but which produces also ozau, yellow, &c. c. Waban is from ab, or wab, light. d. Kabeun, is the name of a mythological person, who is spoken of, in their fictions, as the father of the winds. The inflection ung, or oong, in each term, denotes course, place, or locality.

[Pg 309]



Wheeling (Va.), August 19th, 1843.

I have just accomplished the passage of the Alleghany mountains, in the direction from Baltimore to this place, and must say, that aside from the necessary fatigue of night riding, the pass from the Cumberland mountains and Laurel Hill is one of the easiest and most free from danger of any known to me in this vast range. An excellent railroad now extends from Baltimore, by Frederick and Harper's Ferry, up the Potomac valley and its north branch quite to Cumberland, which is seated just under the mountains, whose peaks would seem to bar all farther approach. The national road finds its way, however, through a gorge, and winds about where "Alps on Alps arise," till the whole vast and broad-backed elevation is passed, and we descend west, over a smooth, well constructed macadamized road, with a velocity which is some compensation for the toil of winding our way up. Uniontown is the first principal place west. The Monongahela is crossed at Brownsville, some forty miles above Pittsburgh, whence the road, which is every where well made and secured with fine stone bridges, culverts and viaducts, winds around a succession of most enchanting hills, till it enters a valley, winds up a few more hills, and brings the travellers out, on the banks of the Ohio, at this town.

[Pg 310]The entire distance from the head of the Chesapeake to the waters of the Ohio is not essentially different from three hundred miles. We were less than two days in passing it, twenty-six hours of which, part night and part day, were spent in post-coaches between Cumberland and this place. Harper's Ferry is an impressive scene, but less so than it would be to a tourist who had not his fancy excited by injudicious descriptions. To me, the romance was quite taken away by driving into it with a tremendous clattering power of steam. The geological structure of this section of country, from water to water, is not without an impressive lesson. In rising from the Chesapeake waters the stratified rocks are lifted up, pointing west, or towards the Alleghanies, and after crossing the summit they point east, or directly contrary, like the two sides of the roof of a house, and leave the inevitable conclusion that the Alleghanies have been lifted up by a lateral rent, as it were, at the relative point of the ridge pole. It is in this way that the granites and their congeners have been raised up into their present elevations.

I did not see any evidence of that wave-like or undulatory structure, which was brought forward as a theory last year, in an able paper forwarded by Professor Rogers, and read at the meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science at Manchester. No organic remains are, of course, visible, in this particular section, at least until we strike the coal and iron-stone formation of Pittsburgh. But I have been renewedly impressed with the opinion, so very opposite to the present geological theory, that less than seven thousand years is sufficient, on scientific principles, to account for all the phenomena of fossil plants, shells, bones and organic remains, as well as the displacements, disruptions, subsidences and rising of strata, and other evidences of extensive physical changes and disturbances on the earth's surface. And I hope to live to see some American geologist build up a theory on just philosophical and scientific principles, which shall bear the test of truth.

But you will, perhaps, be ready to think that I have felt more interest in the impressions of plants in stone, than is to be found in the field of waving corn before the eye. I have, however, by no means neglected the latter; and can assure you that the crops of corn, wheat and other grains, throughout Maryland, Pennsylvania and Western Virginia, are excellent. Even the highest valleys in the Alleghanies are covered with crops of corn, or fields of stacked wheat and other grains. Generally, the soil west of the mountains is more fertile. The influence of the great western limestones, as one of its original materials, and of the oxide of iron, is clearly denoted in heavier and more thrifty cornfields along the Monongahela and Ohio valleys.

Of the Ohio River itself, one who had seen it in its full flow, in April and May, would hardly recognize it now. Shrunk in a volume far below its noble banks, with long spits of sand and gravel running almost[Pg 311] across it, and level sandy margins, once covered by water, where armies might now manœuvre, it is but the skeleton of itself. Steamboats of a hundred tons burden now scarcely creep along its channel, which would form cockboats for the floating palaces to be seen here in the days of its vernal and autumnal glory.

Truly yours,


Grave Creek Flats (Va.), August 23, 1843.

I have devoted several days to the examination of the antiquities of this place and its vicinity, and find them to be of even more interest than was anticipated. The most prominent object of curiosity is the great tumulus, of which notices have appeared in western papers; but this heavy structure of earth is not isolated. It is but one of a series of mounds and other evidences of ancient occupation at this point, of more than ordinary interest. I have visited and examined seven mounds, situated within a short distance of each other. They occupy the summit level of a rich alluvial plain, stretching on the left or Virginia bank of the Ohio, between the junctions of Big and Little Grave Creeks with that stream. They appear to have been connected by low earthen entrenchments, of which plain traces are still visible on some parts of the commons. They included a well, stoned up in the usual manner, which is now filled with rubbish.

The summit of this plain is probably seventy-five feet above the present summer level of the Ohio. It constitutes the second bench, or rise of land, above the water. It is on this summit, and on one of the most elevated parts of it, that the great tumulus stands. It is in the shape of a broad cone, cut off at the apex, where it is some fifty feet across. This area is quite level, and commands a view of the entire plain, and of the river above and below, and the west shores of the Ohio in front. Any public transaction on this area would be visible to multitudes around it, and it has, in this respect, all the advantages of the Mexican and Yucatanese teocalli. The circumference of the base has been stated at a little under nine hundred feet; the height is sixty-nine feet.

The most interesting object of antiquarian inquiry is a small flat stone, inscribed with antique alphabetic characters, which was disclosed on the opening of the large mound. These characters are in the ancient rock alphabet of sixteen right and acute angled single stokes, used by the Pelasgi and other early Mediterranean nations, and which is the parent[Pg 312] of the modern Runic as well as the Bardic. It is now some four or five years since the completion of the excavations, so far as they have been made, and the discovery of this relic. Several copies of it soon got abroad, which differed from each other, and, it was supposed, from the original. This conjecture is true; neither the print published in the Cincinnati Gazette, in 1839, nor that in the American Pioneer, in 1843, is correct. I have terminated this uncertainty by taking copies by a scientific process, which does not leave the lines and figures to the uncertainty of man's pencil.

The existence of this ancient art here could hardly be admitted, otherwise than as an insulated fact, without some corroborative evidence, in habits and customs, which it would be reasonable to look for in the existing ruins of ancient occupancy. It is thought some such testimony has been found. I rode out yesterday three miles back to the range of high hills which encompass this sub-valley, to see a rude tower of stone standing on an elevated point, called Parr's point, which commands a view of the whole plain, and which appears to have been constructed as a watch-tower, or look-out, from which to descry an approaching enemy. It is much dilapidated. About six or seven feet of the work is still entire. It is circular, and composed of rough stones, laid without mortar, or the mark of a hammer. A heavy mass of fallen wall lies around, covering an area of some forty feet in diameter. Two similar points of observation, occupied by dilapidated towers, are represented to exist, one at the prominent summit of the Ohio and Grave Creek hills, and another on the promontory on the opposite side of the Ohio, in Belmont county, Ohio.

It is known to all acquainted with the warlike habits of our Indians, that they never have evinced the foresight to post a regular sentry, and these rude towers may be regarded as of cotemporaneous age with the interment of the inscription.

Several polished tubes of stone have been found, in one of the lesser mounds, the use of which is not very apparent. One of these, now on my table, is 12 inches long, 1-1/4 wide at one end, and 1-1/2 at the other. It is made of a fine, compact, lead blue steatite, mottled, and has been constructed by boring, in the manner of a gun barrel. This boring is continued to within about three-eighths of an inch of the larger end, through which but a small aperture is left. If this small aperture be looked through, objects at a distance are more clearly seen. Whether it had this telescopic use, or others, the degree of art evinced in its construction is far from rude. By inserting a wooden rod and valve, this tube would be converted into a powerful syphon, or syringe.

I have not space to notice one or two additional traits, which serve to awaken new interest at this ancient point of aboriginal and apparently mixed settlement, and must omit them till my next.

[Pg 313]
Grave Creek Flats, August 24, 1843.

The great mound at these flats was opened as a place of public resort about four years ago. For this purpose a horizontal gallery to its centre was dug and bricked up, and provided with a door. The centre was walled round as a rotunda, of about twenty-five feet diameter, and a shaft sunk from the top to intersect it; it was in these two excavations that the skeletons and accompanying relics and ornaments were found. All these articles are arranged for exhibition in this rotunda, which is lighted up with candles. The lowermost skeleton is almost entire, and in a good state of preservation, and is put up by means of wires, on the walls. It has been overstretched in the process so as to measure six feet; it should be about five feet eight inches. It exhibits a noble frame of the human species, bearing a skull with craniological developments of a highly favorable character. The face bones are elongated, with a long chin and symmetrical jaw, in which a full and fine set of teeth, above and below, are present. The skeletons in the upper vault, where the inscription stone was found, are nearly all destroyed.

It is a damp and gloomy repository, and exhibits in the roof and walls of the rotunda one of the most extraordinary sepulchral displays which the world affords. On casting the eye up to the ceiling, and the heads of the pillars supporting it, it is found to be encrusted, or rather festooned, with a white, soft, flaky mass of matter, which had exuded from the mound above. This apparently animal exudation is as white as snow. It hangs in pendent masses and globular drops; the surface is covered with large globules of clear water, which in the reflected light have all the brilliancy of diamonds. These drops of water trickle to the floor, and occasionally the exuded white matter falls. The wooden pillars are furnished with the appearance of capitals, by this substance. That it is the result of a soil highly charged with particles of matter, arising from the decay or incineration of human bodies, is the only theory by which we may account for the phenomenon. Curious and unique it certainly is, and with the faint light of a few candles it would not require much imagination to invest the entire rotunda with sylph-like forms of the sheeted dead.

An old Cherokee chief, who visited this scene, recently, with his companions, on his way to the West, was so excited and indignant at the desecration of the tumulus, by this display of bones and relics to the gaze of the white race, that he became furious and unmanageable; his friends and interpreters had to force him out, to prevent his assassinating the guide; and soon after he drowned his senses in alcohol.

That this spot was a very ancient point of settlement by the hunter[Pg 314] race in the Ohio valley, and that it was inhabited by the present red race of North American Indians, on the arrival of whites west of the Alleghanies, are both admitted facts; nor would the historian and antiquary ever have busied themselves farther in the matter had not the inscribed stone come to light, in the year 1839. I was informed, yesterday, that another inscription stone had been found in one of the smaller mounds on these flats, about five years ago, and have obtained data sufficient as to its present location to put the Ethnological Society on its trace. If, indeed, these inscriptions shall lead us to admit that the continent was visited by Europeans prior to the era of Columbus, it is a question of very high antiquarian interest to determine who the visitors were, and what they have actually left on record in these antique tablets.

I have only time to add a single additional fact. Among the articles found in this cluster of mounds, the greater part are commonplace, in our western mounds and town ruins. I have noticed but one which bears the character of that unique type of architecture found by Mr. Stephens and Mr. Catherwood in Central America and Yucatan. With the valuable monumental standards of comparison furnished by these gentlemen before me, it is impossible not to recognize, in an ornamental stone, found in one of the lesser mounds here, a specimen of similar workmanship. It is in the style of the heavy feather-sculptured ornaments of Yucatan—the material being a wax yellow sand-stone, darkened by time. I have taken such notes and drawings of the objects above referred to, as will enable me, I trust, in due time, to give a connected account of them to our incipient society.

Massillon, Ohio, August 27th, 1843.

Since my last letter I have traversed the State of Ohio, by stage, to this place. In coming up the Virginia banks of the Ohio from Moundsville, I passed a monument, of simple construction, erected to the memory of a Captain Furman and twenty-one men, who were killed by the Indians, in 1777, at that spot. They had been out, from the fort at Wheeling, on a scouting party, and were waylaid at a pass called the narrows. The Indians had dropped a pipe and some trinkets in the path, knowing that the white men would pick them up, and look at them, and while the latter were grouped together in this act, they fired and killed every man. The Indians certainly fought hard for the possession of this valley, aiming, at all times, to make up by stratagem what they lacked in numbers. I doubt whether there is in the history of the[Pg 315] spread of civilisation over the world a theatre so rife with partisan adventure, massacre and murder, as the valley of the Ohio and the country west of the Alleghany generally presented between the breaking out of the American revolution, in '76, and the close of the Black Hawk war in 1832. The true era, in fact, begins with the French war, in 1744, and terminates with the Florida war, the present year. A work on this subject, drawn from authentic sources, and written with spirit and talent, would be read with avidity and possess a permanent interest.

The face of the country, from the Ohio opposite Wheeling to the waters of the Tuscarawas, the north fork of the Muskingum, is a series of high rolling ridges and knolls, up and down which the stage travels slowly. Yet this section is fertile and well cultivated in wheat and corn, particularly the latter, which looks well. This land cannot be purchased under forty or fifty dollars an acre. Much of it was originally bought for seventy-five cents per acre. It was over this high, wavy land, that the old Moravian missionary road to Gnadenhutten ran, and I pursued it to within six miles of the latter place. You will recollect this locality as the scene of the infamous murder, by Williamson and his party, of the non-resisting Christian Delawares under the ministry of Heckewelder and Ziesberger.

On the Stillwater, a branch of the Tuscarawas, we first come to level lands. This stream was noted, in early days, for its beaver and other furs. The last beaver seen here was shot on its banks twelve years ago. It had three legs, one having probably been caught in a trap or been bitten off. It is known that not only the beaver, but the otter, wolf and fox, will bite off a foot, to escape the iron jaws of a trap. It has been said, but I know not on what good authority, that the hare will do the same.

We first struck the Ohio canal at Dover. It is in every respect a well constructed work, with substantial locks, culverts and viaducts. It is fifty feet wide at the top, and is more than adequate for all present purposes. It pursues the valley of the Tuscarawas up to the summit, by which it is connected with the Cuyahuga, whose outlet is at Cleveland. Towns and villages have sprung up along its banks, where before there was a wilderness. Nothing among them impressed me more than the town of Zoar, which is exclusively settled by Germans. There seems something of the principles of association—one of the fallacies of the age—in its large and single town store, hotel, &c., but I do not know how far they may extend. Individual property is held. The evidences of thrift and skill, in cultivation and mechanical and mill work, are most striking. Every dwelling here is surrounded with fruit and fruit trees. The botanical garden and hot-house are on a large scale, and exhibit a favorable specimen of the present state of horticulture.[Pg 316] One of the assistants very kindly plucked for me some fine fruit, and voluntarily offered it. Zoar is quite a place of resort as a ride for the neighboring towns. I may remark, en passant, that there is a large proportion of German population throughout Ohio. They are orderly, thrifty and industrious, and fall readily into our political system and habits. Numbers of them are well educated in the German. They embrace Lutherans as well as Roman Catholics, the latter predominating.

Among the towns which have recently sprung up on the line of the canal, not the least is the one from which I date this letter. The name of the noted French divine (Massillon) was affixed to an uncultivated spot, by some Boston gentlemen, some twelve or fourteen years ago. It is now one of the most thriving, city-looking, business places in the interior of Ohio. In the style of its stores, mills and architecture, it reminds the visitor of that extraordinary growth and spirit which marked the early years of the building of Rochester. It numbers churches for Episcopalians, Baptists, Methodists and Presbyterians, and also Lutherans and Romanists. About three hundred barrels of flour can be turned out per diem, by its mills. It is in the greatest wheat-growing county in Ohio (Stark), but is not the county-seat, which is at Canton.

Detroit, Sept. 15th, 1843.

In passing from the interior of Ohio toward Lake Erie, the face of the country exhibits, in the increased size and number of its boulder stones, evidences of the approach of the traveller toward those localities of sienites and other crystalline rocks, from which these erratic blocks and water-worn masses appear to have been, in a remote age of our planet, removed. The soil in this section has a freer mixture of the broken down slates, of which portions are still in place on the shores of Lake Erie. The result is a clayey soil, less favorable to wheat and Indian corn. We came down the cultivated valley of the Cuyahoga, and reached the banks of the lake at the fine town of Cleveland, which is elevated a hundred feet, or more, above it, and commands a very extensive view of the lake, the harbor and its ever-busy shipping. A day was employed, by stage, in this section of my tour, and the next carried me, by steamboat, to this ancient French capital. Detroit has many interesting historical associations, and appears destined, when its railroad is finished, to be the chief thoroughfare for travellers to Chicago and the Mississippi valley. As my attention has, however, been more taken[Pg 317] up, on my way, with the past than the present and future condition of the West, the chief interest which the route has excited must necessarily arise from the same source.

Michigan connects itself in its antiquarian features with that character of pseudo-civilisation, or modified barbarianism, of which the works and mounds and circumvallations at Grave Creek Flats, at Marietta, at Circleville and other well known points, are evidences. That this improved condition of the hunter state had an ancient but partial connection with the early civilisation of Europe, appears now to be a fair inference, from the inscribed stone of Grave Creek, and other traces of European arts, discovered of late. It is also evident that the central American type of the civilisation, or rather advance to civilisation, of the red race, reached this length, and finally went down, with its gross idolatry and horrid rites, and was merged in the better known and still existing form of the hunter state which was found, respectively, by Cabot, Cartier, Verrezani, Hudson, and others, who first dropped anchor on our coasts.

There is strong evidence furnished by a survey of the western country that the teocalli type of the Indian civilisation, so to call it, developed itself from the banks of the Ohio, in Tennessee and Virginia, west and north-westwardly across the sources of the Wabash, the Muskingum and other streams, toward Lake Michigan and the borders of Wisconsin territory. The chief evidences of it, in Michigan and Indiana, consist of a remarkable series of curious garden beds, or accurately furrowed fields, the perfect outlines of which have been preserved by the grass of the oak openings and prairies, and even among the heaviest forests. These remains of an ancient cultivation have attracted much attention from observing settlers on the Elkhart, the St. Joseph's, the Kalamazoo and Grand river of Michigan. I possess some drawings of these anomalous remains of by-gone industry in the hunter race, taken in former years, which are quite remarkable. It is worthy of remark, too, that no large tumuli, or teocalli, exist in this particular portion of the West, the ancient population of which may therefore be supposed to have been borderers, or frontier bands, who resorted to the Ohio valley as their capital, or place of annual visitation. All the mounds scattered through Northern Ohio, Indiana and Michigan, are mere barrows, or repositories of the dead, and would seem to have been erected posterior to the fall or decay of the gross idol worship and the offer of human sacrifice. I have, within a day or two, received a singular implement or ornament of stone, of a crescent shape, from Oakland, in this State, which connects the scattered and out-lying remains of the smaller mounds, and traces of ancient agricultural labor, with the antiquities of Grave Creek Flats.

[Pg 318]
Detroit, Sept. 16th, 1843.

The antiquities of Western America are to be judged of by isolated and disjointed discoveries, which are often made at widely distant points and spread over a very extensive area. The labor of comparison and discrimination of the several eras which the objects of these discoveries establish, is increased by this diffusion and disconnection of the times and places of their occurrence, and is, more than all, perhaps, hindered and put back by the eventual carelessness of the discoverers, and the final loss or mutilation of the articles disclosed. To remedy this evil, every discovery made, however apparently unimportant, should in this era of the diurnal and periodical press be put on record, and the objects themselves be either carefully kept, or given to some public scientific institution.

An Indian chief called the Black Eagle, of river Au Sables (Michigan), discovered a curious antique pipe of Etruscan ware, a few years ago, at Thunder Bay. This pipe, which is now in my possession, is as remarkable for its form as for the character of the earthenware from which it is made, differing as it does so entirely from the coarse earthen pots and vessels, the remains of which are scattered so generally throughout North America. The form is semi-circular or horn-shaped, with a quadrangular bowl, and having impressed in the ware ornaments at each angle. I have never before, indeed, seen any pipes of Indian manufacture of baked clay, or earthenware, such articles being generally carved out of steatite, indurated clays, or other soft mineral substances. It is a peculiarity of this pipe that it was smoked from the small end, which is rounded for the purpose of putting it between the lips, without the intervention of a stem.

The discoverer told me that he had taken it from a very antique grave. A large hemlock tree, he said, had been blown down on the banks of the river, tearing up, by its roots, a large mass of earth. At the bottom of the excavation thus made he discovered a grave, which contained a vase, out of which he took the pipe with some other articles. The vase, he said, was broken, so that he did not deem it worth bringing away. The other articles he described as bones.

Some time since I accompanied the chief Kewakonce, to get an ancient clay pot, such as the Indians used when the Europeans arrived on the continent. He said that he had discovered two such pots, in an entire state, in a cave, or crevice, on one of the rocky islets extending north of Point Tessalon, which is the northern cape of the entrance of the Straits of St. Mary's into Lake Huron. From this locality he had removed one of them, and concealed it at a distant point. We travelled[Pg 319] in canoes. We landed on the northern shore of the large island of St. Joseph, which occupies the jaws of those expanded straits. He led me up an elevated ridge, covered with forest, and along a winding narrow path, conducting to some old Indian cornfields. All at once he stopped in this path. "We are now very near it," he said, and stood still, looking toward the spot where he had concealed it, beneath a decayed trunk. He did not, at last, appear to be willing to risk his luck in life—such is Indian superstition—by being the actual discoverer of this object of veneration to a white man, but allowed me to make, or rather complete, the re-discovery.

With the exception of being cracked, this vessel is entire. It corresponds, in material and character, with the fragments of pottery usually found. It is a coarse ware, tempered with quartz or feld-spar, and such as would admit a sudden fire to be built around it. It is some ten inches in diameter, tulip-shaped, with a bending lip, and without supports beneath. It was evidently used as retorts in a sand bath, there being no contrivance for suspending it. I have forwarded this curious relic entire to the city for examination. I asked the chief who presented it to me, and who is a man of good sense, well acquainted with Indian traditions, how long it was since such vessels had been used by his ancestors. He replied, that he was the seventh generation, in a direct line, since the French had first arrived in the lakes.

Detroit, Sept. 16th, 1843.

There was found, in an island at the west extremity of Lake Huron, an ancient repository of human bones, which appeared to have been gathered from their first or ordinary place of sepulture, and placed in this rude mausoleum. The island is called Isle Ronde by the French, and is of small dimensions, although it has a rocky basis and affords sugar maple and other trees of the hard wood species. This repository was first disclosed by the action of the lake against a diluvial shore, in which the bones were buried. At the time of my visit, vertebræ, tibiæ, portions of crania and other bones were scattered down the fallen bank, and served to denote the place of their interment, which was on the margin of the plain. Some persons supposed that the leg and thigh bones denoted an unusual length; but by placing them hip by hip with the living specimen, this opinion was not sustained.

All these bones had been placed longitudinally. They were arranged in order, in a wide grave, or trench. Contrary to the usual practice of the present tribes of red men, the skeletons were laid north and south. I asked[Pg 320] several of the most aged Indian chiefs in that vicinity for information respecting these bones—by what tribe they had been deposited, and why they had been laid north and south, and not east and west, as they uniformly bury. But, with the usual result as to early Indian traditions, they had no information to offer. Chusco, an old Ottawa prophet, since dead, remarked that they were probably of the time of the Indian bones found in the caves on the island of Michilimackinac.

In a small plain on the same island, near the above repository, is a long abandoned Indian burial-ground, in which the interments are made in the ordinary way. This, I understood from the Indians, is of the era of the occupation of Old Mackinac, or Peekwutinong, as they continue to call it—a place which has been abandoned by both whites and Indians, soldiers and missionaries, about seventy years. I caused excavations to be made in these graves, and found their statements to be generally verified by the character of the articles deposited with the skeletons; at least they were all of a date posterior to the discovery of this part of the country by the French. There were found the oxydated remains of the brass mountings of a chief's fusil, corroded fire steels and other steel implements, vermillion, wampum, and other cherished or valued articles. I sent a perfect skull, taken from one of these graves, to Dr. Morton, the author of "Crania," while he was preparing that work. No Indians have resided on this island within the memory of any white man or Indian with whom I have conversed. An aged chief whom I interrogated, called Saganosh, who has now been dead some five or six years, told me that he was a small boy when the present settlement on the island of Michilimackinac was commenced, and the English first took post there, and began to remove their cattle, &c., from the old fort on the peninsula, and it was about that time that the Indian village of Minnisains, or Isle Ronde, was abandoned. It had before formed a link, as it were, in the traverse of this part of the lake (Huron) in canoes to old Mackinac.

The Indians opposed the transfer of the post to the island of Michilimackinac, and threatened the troops who were yet in the field. They had no cannon, but the commanding officer sent a vessel to Detroit for one. This vessel had a quick trip, down and up, and brought up a gun, which was fired the evening she came into the harbor. This produced an impression. I have made some inquiries to fix the date of this transfer of posts, and think it was at or about the opening of the era of the American revolution, at which period the British garrison did not feel itself safe in a mere stockade of timber on the main shore. This stockade, dignified with the name of a fort, had not been burned on the taking of it, by surprise, and the massacre of the English troops by the Indians, during Pontiac's war. This massacre, it will be recollected, was in 1763—twelve years before the opening of the American war.

[Pg 321]
Detroit, Oct. 13th, 1843.

The so-called copper rock of Lake Superior was brought to this place, a day or two since, in a vessel from Sault Ste-Marie, having been transported from its original locality, on the Ontonagon river, at no small labor and expense. It is upwards of twenty-three years since I first visited this remarkable specimen of native copper, in the forests of Lake Superior. It has been somewhat diminished in size and weight, in the meantime, by visitors and travellers in that remote quarter; but retains, very well, its original character and general features.

I have just returned from a re-examination of it in a store, in one of the main streets of this city, where it has been deposited by the present proprietor, who designs to exhibit it to the curious. Its greatest length is four feet six inches; its greatest width about four feet; its maximum thickness eighteen inches. These are rough measurements with the rule. It is almost entirely composed of malleable copper, and bears striking marks of the visits formerly paid to it, in the evidences of portions which have from time to time been cut off. There are no scales in the city large enough, or other means of ascertaining its precise weight, and of thus terminating the uncertainty arising from the several estimates heretofore made. It has been generally estimated here, since its arrival, to weigh between six and seven thousand pounds, or about three and a half tons, and is by far the largest known and described specimen of native copper on the globe. Rumors of a larger piece in South America are apocryphal.

The acquisition, to the curious and scientific world, of this extraordinary mass of native metal is at least one of the practical results of the copper-mining mania which carried so many adventurers northward, into the region of Lake Superior, the past summer (1843). The person who has secured this treasure (Mr. J. Eldred) has been absent, on the business, since early in June. He succeeded in removing it from its diluvial bed on the banks of the river, by a car and sectional railroad of two links, formed of timber. The motive power was a tackle attached to trees, which was worked by men, from fourteen to twenty of whom were employed upon it. These rails were alternately moved forward, as the car passed from the hindmost.

In this manner the rock was dragged four miles and a half, across a rough country, to a curve of the river below its falls, and below the junction of its forks, where it was received by a boat, and conveyed to the mouth of the river, on the lake shore. At this point it was put on board a schooner, and taken to the falls, or Sault Ste-Marie, and thence, having been transported across the portage, embarked for Detroit. The[Pg 322] entire distance to this place is a little within one thousand miles; three hundred and twenty of which lie beyond St. Mary's.

What is to be its future history and disposition remains to be seen. It will probably find its way to the museum of the National Institute in the new patent office at Washington. This would be appropriate, and it is stated that the authorities have asserted their ultimate claim to it, probably under the 3d article of the treaty of Fond du Lac, of the 5th of August, 1826.

I have no books at hand to refer to the precise time, so far as known, when this noted mass of copper first became known to Europeans. Probably a hundred and eighty years have elapsed. Marquette, and his devoted companion, passed up the shores of Lake Superior about 1668, which was several years before the discovery of the Mississippi, by that eminent missionary, by the way of the Wisconsin. From the letters of D'Ablon at Sault Ste-Marie, it appears to have been known prior to the arrival of La Salle. These allusions will be sufficient to show that the rock has a historical notoriety. Apart from this, it is a specimen which is, both mineralogically and geologically, well worthy of national preservation.

It is clearly a boulder, and bears marks of attrition from the action of water, on some parts of its rocky surface as well as the metallic portions. A minute mineralogical examination and description of it are required. The adhering rock, of which there is less now than in 1820, is apparently serpentine, in some parts steatitic, whereas the copper ores of Keweena Point on that lake, are found exclusively in the amygdaloids and greenstones of the trap formation. A circular depression of opaque crystalline quartz, in the form of a semi-geode, exists in one face of it; other parts of the mass disclose the same mineral. Probably 300 lbs. of the metal have been hacked off, or detached by steel chisels, since it has been known to the whites, most of this within late years.

Detroit, Oct. 16th, 1843.

In the rapid development of the resources and wealth of the West, there is no object connected with the navigation of the upper lakes of more prospective importance than the improvement of the delta, or flats of the St. Clair. It is here that the only practical impediment occurs to the passage of heavy shipping, between Buffalo and Chicago. This delta is formed by deposits at the point of discharge of the river St. Clair, into Lake St. Clair, and occurs at the estimated distance of about thirty-[Pg 323]six miles above the city. The flats are fan-shaped, and spread, I am inclined to think, upward of fifteen miles, on the line of their greatest expansion.

There are three principal channels, besides sub-channels, which carry a depth of from four to six fathoms to the very point of their exit into the lake, where there is a bar in each. This bar, as is shown by the chart of a survey made by officers Macomb and Warner, of the topographical engineers, in 1842, is very similar to the bars at the mouths of the upper lake rivers, and appears to be susceptible of removal, or improvement, by similar means. The north channel carries nine feet of water over this bar, the present season, and did the same in 1842, and is the one exclusively used by vessels and steamboats. To the latter this tortuous channel, which is above ten miles farther round than the middle channel, presents no impediment, besides the intricacies of the bar, but increased distance.

It is otherwise, and ever must remain so, to vessels propelled by sails. Such vessels, coming up with a fair wind, find the bend so acute and involved at Point aux Chenes, at the head of this channel, as to bring the wind directly ahead. They are, consequently, compelled to cast anchor, and await a change of wind to turn this point. A delay of eight or ten days in the upward passage, is not uncommon at this place. Could the bar of the middle channel, which is direct, be improved, the saving in both time and distance above indicated would be made. This is an object of public importance, interesting to all the lake States and Territories, and would constitute a subject of useful consideration for Congress. Every year is adding to the number and size of our lake vessels. The rate of increase which doubles our population in a given number of years must also increase the lake tonnage, and add new motives for the improvement of its navigation.

Besides the St. Clair delta, I know of no other impediment in the channel itself, throughout the great line of straits between Buffalo and Chicago, which prudence and good seamanship, and well found vessels, may not ordinarily surmount. The rapids at Black Rock, once so formidable, have long been obviated by the canal dam. The straits of Detroit have been well surveyed, and afford a deep, navigable channel at all times. The rapids at the head of the river St. Clair, at Port Huron, have a sufficiency of water for vessels of the largest class, and only require a fair wind for their ascent.

The straits of Michilimackinac are believed to be on the same water level as Lakes Huron and Michigan, and only present the phenomenon of a current setting east or west, in compliance with certain laws of the reaction of water driven by winds. Such are the slight impediments on this extraordinary line of inland lake navigation, which is carried on at an average altitude of something less than 600 feet above the tide level[Pg 324] of the Atlantic. When this line of commerce requires to be diverted north, through the straits of St. Mary's into Lake Superior, a period rapidly approaching, a short canal of three-fourths of a mile will be required at the Sault Ste-Marie, and some excavation made, so as to permit vessels of heavy tonnage to cross the bar in Lake George of those straits.

Dundas, Canada West, Oct. 26th, 1843.

Fortunately for the study of American antiquities the aborigines have, from the earliest period, practised the interment of their arms, utensils and ornaments, with the dead, thus furnishing evidence of the particular state of their skill in the arts, at the respective eras of their history. To a people without letters there could scarcely have been a better index than such domestic monuments furnish, to determine these eras; and it is hence that the examination of their mounds and burial-places assumes so important a character in the investigation of history. Heretofore these inquiries have been confined to portions of the continent south and west of the great chain of lakes and the St. Lawrence; but the advancing settlements in Canada, at this time, are beginning to disclose objects of this kind, and thus enlarge the field of inquiry.

I had, yesterday, quite an interesting excursion to one of these ancient places of sepulture north of the head of Lake Ontario. The locality is in the township of Beverly, about twelve miles distant from Dundas. The rector of the parish, the Rev. Mr. McMurray, had kindly made arrangements for my visit. We set out at a very early hour, on horseback, the air being keen, and the mud and water in the road so completely frozen as to bear our horses. We ascended the mountain and passed on to the table land, about four miles, to the house of a worthy parishioner of Mr. McM., by whom we were kindly welcomed, and after giving us a warm breakfast, he took us on, with a stout team, about six miles on the Guelph road. Diverging from this, about two miles to the left, through a heavy primitive forest, with occasional clearings, we came to the spot. It is in the 6th concession of Beverly.

We were now about seventeen miles, by the road, from the extreme head of Lake Ontario, at the town of Hamilton, Burlington Bay; and on one of the main branches of the bright and busy mill-stream of the valley of Dundas. As this part of the country is yet encumbered with dense and almost unbroken masses of trees, with roads unformed, we had frequently to inquire our way, and at length stopped on the skirts of an elevated beech ridge, upon which the trees stood as large and thickly as[Pg 325] in other parts of the forest. There was nothing at first sight to betoken that the hand of man had ever been exercised there. Yet this wooded ridge embraced the locality we were in quest of, and the antiquity of interments and accumulations of human bones on this height is to be inferred, from their occurrence amidst this forest, and beneath the roots of the largest trees.

It is some five or six years since the discovery was made. It happened from the blowing down of a large tree, whose roots laid bare a quantity of human bones. Search was then made, and has been renewed at subsequent times, the result of which has been the disclosure of human skeletons in such abundance and massive quantities as to produce astonishment. This is the characteristic feature. Who the people were, and how such an accumulation should have occurred, are questions which have been often asked. And the interest of the scene is by no means lessened on observing that the greater part of these bones are deposited, not in isolated and single graves as the Indians now bury, but in wide and long trenches and rude vaults, in which the skeletons are piled longitudinally upon each other. In this respect they resemble a single deposit, mentioned in a prior letter, as occurring on Isle Ronde, in Lake Huron. And they would appear, as is the case with the latter, to be re-interments of bodies, after the flesh had decayed, collected from their first places of sepulture.

No one—not the oldest inhabitant—remembers the residence of Indians in this location, nor does there appear to be any tradition on the subject. It is a common opinion among the settlers that there must have been a great battle fought here, which would account for the accumulation, but this idea does not appear to be sustained by an examination of the skulls, which, so far as I saw, exhibit no marks of violence. Besides, there are present the bones and crania of women and children, with implements and articles of domestic use, such as are ordinarily deposited with the dead. The supposition of pestilence, to account for the number, is subject to less objection; yet, if admitted, there is no imaginable state of Indian population in this quarter, which could have produced such heaps. The trenches, so far as examined, extend over the entire ridge. One of the transverse deposits, I judged, could not include less than fifteen hundred square feet. The whole of this had been once dug over, in search of curiosities, such as pipes, shells, beads, &c., of which a large number were found. Among the evidences of interments here since the discovery of Canada, were several brass kettles, in one of which were five infant skulls.

Could we determine accurately the time required for the growth of a beech, or a black oak, as they are found on these deposits, of sixteen, eighteen and twenty inches and two feet in diameter, the date of the abandonment or completion of the interments might be very nearly fixed.[Pg 326] The time of the growth of these species is, probably, much less, in the temperate latitudes, and in fertile soils, than is commonly supposed. I am inclined to think, from a hasty survey, that the whole deposit is the result of the slow accumulation of both ordinary interment, and the periodical deposit or re-interment of exhumed bones brought from contiguous hunting camps and villages. To this, pestilence has probably added. The ridge is said to be the apex or highest point of the table lands, and would therefore recommend itself, as a place of general interment, to the natives. Bands, who rove from place to place, and often capriciously abandon their hunting villages, are averse to leaving their dead in such isolated spots. The surrounding country is one which must have afforded all the spontaneous means of Indian subsistence, in great abundance. The deer and bear, once very numerous, still abound.

We passed some ancient beaver dams, and were informed that the country east and north bears similar evidences of its former occupation by the small furred animals. The occurrence of the sugar maple adds another element of Indian subsistence. There are certain enigmatical walls of earth, in this vicinity, which extend several miles across the country, following the leading ridges of land. Accounts vary in representing them to extend from five to eight miles. These I did not see, but learn that they are about six feet high, and present intervals as if for gates. There is little likelihood that these walls were constructed for purposes of military defence, remote as they are from the great waters, and aside from the great leading war-paths. It is far more probable that they were intended to intercept the passage of game, and compel the deer to pass through these artificial defiles, where the hunters lay in wait for them.

Ancient Iroquois tradition, as preserved by Colden, represents this section of Canada, extending quite to Three Rivers, as occupied by the Adirondacks; a numerous, fierce, and warlike race, who carried on a determined war against the Iroquois. The same race, who were marked as speaking a different type of languages, were, at an early day, called by the French by the general term of Algonquins. They had three chief residences on the Utawas and its sources, and retired northwestwardly, by that route, on the increase of the Iroquois power. Whoever the people were who hunted and buried their dead at Beverly, it is manifest that they occupied the district at and prior to the era of the discovery of Canada, and also continued to occupy it, after the French had introduced the fur trade into the interior. For we find, in the manufactured articles buried, the distinctive evidences of both periods.

The antique bone beads, of which we raised many, in situ, with crania and other bones, from beneath the roots of trees, are in every respect similar to those found in the Grave Creek mound, which have been improperly called "Ivory." Amulets of bone and shell, and pipes of fine[Pg 327] steatite and indurated red clay, are also of this early period, and are such as were generally made and used by the ancient inhabitants prior to the introduction of European wrought wampum or seawan, and of beads of porcelain and glass, and ornamented pipes of coarse pottery. I also examined several large marine shells, much corroded and decayed, which had been brought, most probably, from the shores of the Atlantic.

Having made such excavations as limited time and a single spade would permit, we retraced our way to Dundas, which we reached after nightfall, a little fatigued, but well rewarded in the examination of an object which connects, in several particulars, the antiquities of Canada with those of the United States.

[Pg 328]


The following papers, relative to the early occupancy of these straits, were copied from the originals in the public archives in Paris, by Gen. Cass, while he exercised the functions of minister at the court of France. The first relates to an act of occupancy made on the banks of a tributary of the Detroit river, called St. Deny's, probably the river Aux Canards. The second coincides with the period usually assigned as the origin of the post of Detroit. They are further valuable, for the notice which is incidentally taken of the leading tribes, who were then found upon these straits.

It will be recollected, in perusing these documents, that La Salle had passed these straits on his way to "the Illinois," in 1679, that is, eight years before the act of possession at St. Deny's, and twenty-two years before the establishment of the post of Detroit. The upper lakes had then, however, been extensively laid open to the enterprise of the missionaries, and of the adventurers in the fur trade. Marquette, accompanied by Alloez, had visited the south shore of Lake Superior in 1668, and made a map of the region, which was published in the Lettres Edifiantes. This zealous and energetic man established the mission of St. Ignace at Michilimackinac, about 1669 or 1670, and three years afterwards, entered the upper Mississippi, from the Wisconsin. Vincennes, on the Wabash, was established in 1710;[27] St. Louis, not till 1763.[28]

[27] Nicollet's Report.

[28] Law's Historical Dis.

Canada, 7th June, 1687.

A renewal of the taking possession of the territory upon the Straits [Detroit] between Lakes Erie and Huron, by Sieur de la Duranthaye.

Oliver Morel, Equerry, Sieur de la Duranthaye, commandant in the name of the King of the Territory of the Ottawas, Miamis, Pottawatamies, Sioux, and other tribes under the orders of Monsieur, the Marquis de Denonsville, Governor General of New France.

This day, the 7th of June, 1687, in presence of the Rev'd Father Angeleran, Head of the Missions with the Ottawas[29] of Michilimackinac, the[Pg 329] Miamis of Sault Ste-Marie, the Illinois, and Green Bay, and of the Sioux of Mons. de la Forest, formerly commandant of Fort St. Louis on the Illinois, of Mons. de Lisle, our Lieutenant, and of Mons. de Beauvais, Lieutenant of Fort St. Joseph, on the Straits [Detroit] between Lakes Huron and Erie. We declare to all whom it may hereafter concern, that we have come upon the banks of the river St. Deny's, situated three leagues from Lake Erie, in the Straits of the said Lakes Erie and Huron, on the south of said straits, and also at the entrance on the north side, for and in the name of the King, that we re-take possession of the said posts, established by Mons. La Salle for facilitating the voyages he made or caused to be made in vessels from Niagara to Michilimackinac, in the years * * * * * * at each of which we have caused to be set up anew a staff, with the arms of the King, in order to make the said renewed taking possession, and ordered several cabins to be erected for the accommodation of the French and the Indians of the Shawnees and Miamis, who had long been the proprietors of the said territory, but who had some time before withdrawn from the same for their greater advantage.

[29] This is, manifestly, an error. The writer of this act of possession appears to have mistaken the bank of the St. Mary's, one of the tributaries of the Miami of the Lakes, in the Miami country, for the Sault de Ste-Marie, at the outlet of Lake Superior. The latter position was occupied, at the earliest dates, to which tradition reaches, by a branch of the Algonquins, to whom the French gave the name, from the falls of the river at that locality, of Saulteux. They are better known, at this day under the name of Chippewas and Odjibwas.

The present act passed in our presence, signed by our hands, and by Rev. Father Angeleran, of the society of Jesuits, by MM. De la Forest, De Lisle and De Beauvais, thus in the original:

Angeleran, Jesuite.
De la Duranthaye [la Garduer].
De Beauvais, and
De la Forest.

Compared by me with the original in my hands, Councillor Secretary of the King, and Register in Chief of the Royal Council at Quebec, subscribed, and each page paraphe.

Collated at Quebec, this 11th September, 1712.

[Signed],Byon et Vandreuil.

Memoir of Monsieur de la Mothe Cadillac, relative to the establishment of Detroit, addressed to the Minister of Marine, 14th September, 1704:

La Mothe Cadillac renders an account of his conduct relative to the establishment of Detroit, by questions and answers. It is the Minister who questions, and La Mothe who answers:

Q. Was it not in 1699 that you proposed to me an establishment in the Straits which separate Lake Erie from Lake Huron?

A. Yes, my Lord.

Q. What were the motives which induced you to wish to fortify a place there, and make an establishment?

A. I had several. The first was to make a strong post, which should not be subject to the revolutions of other posts, by fixing there a number[Pg 330] of French and Savages, in order to curb the Iroquois, who had constantly annoyed our colonies and hindered their prosperity.

Q. At what time did you leave Quebec to go to Detroit?

A. On the 8th of March, 1701. I reached Montreal the 12th, when we were obliged to make a change. * * * * I left La Chine the 5th of June with fifty soldiers and fifty Canadians—Messrs. De Fonty, Captain, Duque and Chacornach, Lieutenants. I was ordered to pass by the Grand River of the Ottawas, notwithstanding my remonstrances. I arrived at Detroit the 24th July and fortified myself there immediately; had the necessary huts made, and cleared up the grounds, preparatory to its being sowed in the autumn.

Compare these data, from the highest sources, with the Indian tradition of the first arrival of the French, in the upper lakes, recorded at page 107, Oneota, No. 2.


The Vicksburg Sentinel of the 18th ult., referring to this tribe of Indians, has the following:—"The last remnant of this once powerful tribe are now crossing our ferry on their way to their new homes in the far West. To one who, like the writer, has been familiar to their bronze inexpressive faces from infancy, it brings associations of peculiar sadness to see them bidding here a last farewell perhaps to the old hills which gave birth, and are doubtless equally dear to him and them alike. The first playmates of our infancy were the young Choctaw boys of the then woods of Warren county. Their language was once scarcely less familiar to us than our mother-English. We know, we think, the character of the Choctaw well. We knew many of their present stalwart braves in those days of early life when the Indian and white alike forget disguise, but in the unchecked exuberance of youthful feeling show the real character that policy and habit may afterwards so much conceal; and we know that, under the stolid stoic look he assumes, there is burning in the Indian's nature a heart of fire and feeling, and an all-observing keenness of apprehension, that marks and remembers everything that occurs, and every insult he receives. Cunni-at a hah! They are going away! With a visible reluctance which nothing has overcome but the stern necessity they feel impelling them, they have looked their last on the graves of their sires—the scenes of their youth—and have taken up their slow toilsome march, with their household gods among them, to their new home in a strange land. They leave names to many of our rivers, towns and counties; and so long as our State remains, the Choctaws, who once owned most of her soil, will be remembered."

[Pg 331]



Forty-two years had elapsed from the discovery of America by Columbus, when Jacques Cartier prepared to share in the maritime enterprise of the age, by visiting the coast. Cartier was a native of Normandy, and sailed from the port of St. Malo, in France, on the 20th April, 1534. It will be recollected that the conquest of Mexico had been completed 13 years previous. Cartier had two small vessels of 60 tons burden and 61 men each. The crews took an oath, before sailing, "to behave themselves truly and faithfully in the service of the most christian king," Francis I. After an unusually prosperous voyage of 20 days, he made cape "Buona Vista" in Newfoundland, which he states to be in north latitude, 48° 30'. Here meeting with ice, he made the haven of St. Catherine's, where he was detained ten days. This coast had now been known since the voyage of Cabot, in 1497, and had been frequently resorted to, by fishing vessels. Jean Denis, a native of Rouen, one of these fishermen, is said to have published the first chart of it, in 1506. Two years afterwards, Thomas Aubert, brought the first natives from Newfoundland to Paris, and this is the era, 1508, commonly assigned as the discovery of Canada. The St. Lawrence remained, however, undiscovered, nor does it appear that any thing was known, beyond a general and vague knowledge of the coast, and its islands. The idea was yet entertained, indeed, it will be seen by subsequent facts, that America was an island, and that a passage to the Asiatic continent, existed in these latitudes.

On the 21st May, Cartier continued his voyage, sailing "north and by east" from cape Buona Vista, and reached the Isle of Birds, so called from the unusual abundance of sea fowl found there, of the young of which the men filled two boats, "so that" in the quaint language of the journal, "besides them which we did eat fresh, every ship did powder and salt five or six barrels." He also observed the godwit, and a larger and vicious bird, which they named margaulx. While at this island, they descried a polar bear, which, in their presence leapt into the sea, and[Pg 332] thus escaped. On their subsequent passage to the main land, they again encountered, as they supposed, the same animal swimming towards land. They manned their boats, and "by main strength overtook her, whose flesh was as good to be eaten, as the flesh of a calf two years old." This bear is described to be, "as large as a cow, and as white as a swan."

On the 27th he reached the harbour of "Carpunt" in the bay "Les Chastaux," latitude 51°, where he was constrained to lay by, on account of the accumulation of ice, till the 9th of June. The narrator of the voyage takes this occasion to describe certain parts of the coast and waters of Newfoundland, the island of St. Catherine, Blanc Sablon, Brest, the Isle of Birds, and a numerous group of Islands called the Islets. But these memoranda are not connected with any observations or discoveries of importance. Speaking of Bird and Brest Islands, he says, they afford "great store of godwits, and crows, with red beaks and red feet," who "make their nests in holes underground, even as conies." Near this locality "there is great fishing."

On the 10th June, he entered a port in the newly named island of Brest, to procure wood and water. Meantime, boats were dispatched to explore among the islands, which were found so numerous "that it was not possible they might be told, for they continued about 10 leagues beyond the said port." The explorers slept on an island. The next day they continued their discoveries along the coast, and having passed the islands, found a haven, which they named St. Anthony: one or two leagues beyond, they found a small river named St. Servansport, and here set up a cross. About three leagues further, they discovered another river, of larger size, in which they found salmon, and bestowed upon it the name of St. Jacques.

While in the latter position, they descried a ship from Rochelle, on a fishing voyage, and rowing out in their boats, directed it to a port near at hand, in what is called "Jaques Cartier's Sound," "which," adds the narrator, "I take to be one of the best, in all the world." The face of the country they examined, is, however, of the most sterile and forbidding character, being little besides "stones and wild crags, and a place fit for wild beasts, for in all the North Island," he continues, "I did not see a cart load of good earth, yet went I on shore, in many places, and in the Island of White Sand, (Blanc Sablon,) there is nothing else but moss and small thorns, scattered here and there, withered and dry. To be short, I believe that this was the land that God allotted to Cain."

Immediately following this, we have the first description of the natives. The men are described as being "of an indifferent good stature and bigness, but wild and unruly. They wear their hair tied on the top, like a wreath of hay, and put a wooden pin within it, or any other such thing, instead of a nail, and with them, they bind certain birds feathers. They are[Pg 333] clothed with beast skins, as well the men as women, but that the women go somewhat straiter and closer in their garments, than the men do, with their waists girded. They paint themselves with certain roan colours; their boats are made of the bark of birch trees, with the which they fish, and take great store of seals. And as far as we could understand, since our coming thither, that is not their habitation, but they come from the main land, out of hotter[30] countries to catch the said seals, and other necessaries for their living."

[30] I underscore the word "hotter," to denote the prevalent theory. They were searching for China or the East India.

From this exploratory trip, the boats returned to their newly named harbour of Brest, on the 13th. On the 14th, being the Sabbath, service was read, and the next day Cartier continued his voyage, steering southerly, along the coast, which still wore a most barren and cheerless aspect. Much of this part of the narrative is taken up with distances and soundings, and the naming of capes and islands of very little interest at the present day. They saw a few huts upon the cliffs on the 18th, and named this part of the coast "Les Granges," but did not stop to form any acquaintance with their tenants. Cape Royal was reached and named the day prior, and is said to be the "greatest fishery of cods there possibly may be, for in less than an hour we took a hundred of them." On the 24th they discovered the island of St. John. They saw myriads of birds upon the group of islands named "Margaulx," five leagues westward of which they discovered a large, fertile, and well-timbered island, to which the name of "Brion" was given. The contrast presented by the soil and productions of this island, compared with the bleak and waste shores they had before encountered, excited their warm admiration; and with the aid of this excitement, they here saw "wild corn," peas, gooseberries, strawberries, damask roses, and parsley, "with other sweet and pleasant herbs." They here also saw the walrus, bear, and wolf.

Very little is to be gleaned from the subsequent parts of the voyage, until they reached the gulf of St. Lawrence. Mists, head winds, barren rocks, sandy shores, storms and sunshine, alternately make up the landscape presented to view. Much caution was evinced in standing off and on an iron bound coast, and the boats were often employed in exploring along the main land. While thus employed near a shallow stream, called the "River of Boats," they saw natives crossing the stream in their canoes, but the wind coming to blow on shore, they were compelled to retire to their vessels, without opening any communication with them. On the following day, while the boats were traversing the coast, they saw a native running along shore after them, who made signs as they supposed, directing them to return towards the cape they had left. But as soon as the boat turned he fled. They landed, however, and putting a[Pg 334] knife and a woollen girdle on a staff, as a good-will offering, returned to their vessels.

The character of this part of the Newfoundland coast, impressed them as being greatly superior to the portions which they had previously seen, both in soil and temperature. In addition to the productions found at Brion's Island, they noticed cedars, pines, white elm, ash, willow, and what are denominated "ewe-trees." Among the feathered tribes they mention the "thrush and stock-dove." By the latter term the passenger pigeon is doubtless meant. The "wild corn" here again mentioned, is said to be "like unto rye," from which it may be inferred that it was the zizania, although the circumstance of its being an aquatic plant is not mentioned.

In running along the coast Cartier appears to have been engrossed with the idea, so prevalent among the mariners of that era, of finding a passage to India, and it was probably on this account that he made such a scrupulous examination of every inlet and bay, and the productions of the shores. Wherever the latter offered anything favourable, there was a strong disposition to admiration, and to make appearances correspond with the theory. It must be recollected that Hudson, seventy-five years later, in sailing up the North River, had similar notions. Hence the application of several improper terms to the vegetable and animal productions of the latitudes, and the constant expectation of beholding trees bending with fruits and spices, "goodly trees" and "very sweet and pleasant herbs." That the barren and frigid shores of Labrador, and the northern parts of Newfoundland, should have been characterised as a region subject to the divine curse, is not calculated to excite so much surprise, as the disposition with every considerable change of soil and verdure, to convert it into a land of oriental fruitfulness. It does not appear to have been sufficiently borne in mind, that the increased verdure and temperature, were, in a great measure, owing to the advancing state of the season. He came on this coast on the 10th of May, and it was now July. It is now very well known that the summers in high northern latitudes, although short, are attended with a high degree of heat.

On the 3d of July Cartier entered the gulf to which the name of St. Lawrence has since been applied, the centre of which he states to be in latitude 47° 30'. On the 4th he proceeded up the bay to a creek called St. Martin, near bay De Chaleur, where he was detained by stress of weather eight days. While thus detained, one of the ship's boats was sent a-head to explore. They went 7 or 8 leagues to a cape of the bay, where they descried two parties of Indians, "in about 40 or 50 canoes," crossing the channel. One of the parties landed and beckoned them to follow their example, "making a great noise" and showing "certain skins upon pieces of wood"—i.e. fresh stretched skins. Fearing their numbers, the seamen kept aloof. The Indians prepared to follow them, in two canoes, in which movement they were joined by five canoes of the other party,[Pg 335] "who were coming from the sea side." They approached in a friendly manner, "dancing and making many signs of joy, saying in their tongue Nape tondamen assuath."[31] The seamen, however, suspected their intentions, and finding it impossible to elude them by flight, two shots were discharged among them, by which they were so terrified, that they fled precipitately ashore, "making a great noise." After pausing awhile, the "wild men" however, re-embarked, and renewed the pursuit, but after coming alongside, they were frightened back by the strokes of two lances, which so disconcerted them that they fled in haste, and made no further attempt to follow.

[31] In Mr. Gallatin's comparative vocabulary, "Napew" means man, in the Sheshatapoosh or Labrador. It is therefore fair to conclude that these were a party of Sheshatapoosh Indians, whose language proves them to be of the kindred of the great Algonquin family.

This appears to have been the first rencontre of the ship's crew with the natives. On the following day, an interview was brought on, by the approach of said "wild men" in nine canoes, which is thus described. "We being advertised of their coming, went to the point where they were with our boats; but so soon as they saw us they began to flee, making signs that they came to traffic with us, showing us such skins as they clothed themselves withal, which are of small value. We likewise made signs unto them, that we wished them no evil, and in sign thereof, two of our men ventured to go on land to them, and carry them knives, with other iron wares, and a red hat to give unto their captain. Which, when they saw, they also came on land, and brought some of their skins, and so began to deal with us, seeming to be very glad to have our iron wares and other things, dancing, with many other ceremonies, as with their hands to cast sea water on their heads. They gave us whatever they had, not keeping any thing, so that they were constrained to go back again naked, and made us signs, that the next day, they would come again and bring more skins with them."

Observing a spacious bay extending beyond the cape, where this intercourse had been opened, and the wind proving adverse to the vessels quitting their harbour, Cartier despatched his boats to examine it, under an expectation that it might afford the desired passage—for it is at all times to be observed that he was diligently seeking the long sought passage to the Indies. While engaged in this examination, his men discovered "the smokes and fires" of "wild men" (the term constantly used in the narrative to designate the natives.) These smokes were upon a small lake, communicating with the bay. An amiable interview took place, the natives presenting cooked seal, and the French making a suitable return "in hatchets, knives and beads." After these preliminaries, which were conducted with a good deal of caution, by deputies from both sides, the body of the men approached in their canoes, for the purpose of trafficking, leaving most of[Pg 336] their families behind. About 300 men women and children were estimated to have been seen at this place. They evinced their friendship by singing and dancing, and by rubbing their hands upon the arms of their European visitors, then lifting them up towards the heavens. An opinion is expressed that these people, (who were in the position assigned to the Micmacs in 1600 in Mr. Gallatin's ethnological map,) might very easily be converted to Christianity. "They go," says the narrator, "from place to place. They live only by fishing. They have an ordinary time to fish for their provisions. The country is hotter than the country of Spain, and the fairest that can possibly be found, altogether smooth and level." To the productions before noticed, as existing on Brion's island &c., and which were likewise found here, he adds, "white and red roses, with many other flowers of very sweet and pleasant smell." "There be also," says the journalist, "many goodly meadows, full of grass, and lakes, wherein plenty of salmon be." The natives called a hatchet cochi, and a knife bacon[32]. It was now near the middle of July, and the degree of heat experienced on the excursion induced Cartier to name the inlet, Baie du Chaleur—a name it still retains.

[32] Koshee and Bahkon. These are not the terms for a hatchet and a knife in the Micmac, nor in the old Algonquin, nor in the Wyandot.

On the 12th of July Cartier left his moorings at St. Martin's creek, and proceeded up the gulf, but encountering bad weather he was forced into a bay, which appears to have been Gaspe, where one of the vessels lost her anchor. They were forced to take shelter in a river of that bay, and there detained thirteen days. In the mean while they opened an intercourse with the natives, who were found in great numbers engaged in fishing for makerel. Forty canoes, and 200 men women and children were estimated to have been seen, during their detention. Presents of "knives, combs, beads of glass, and other trifles of small value," were made to them, for which they expressed great thankfulness, lifting up their hands, and dancing and singing.

These Gaspe Indians are represented as differing, both in nature and language, from those before mentioned. They presented a picture of abject poverty, were partially clothed in "old skins," and lived without the use of tents. They may, says the journalist, "very well and truly be called wild, because there is no poorer people in the world, for I think, all they had together, besides their boats and nets, was not worth five sous." They shaved their heads, except a tuft at the crown; sheltered themselves at night under their canoes on the bare ground, and ate their provisions very partially cooked. They were wholly without the use of salt, and "ate nothing that had any taste of salt." On Cartier's first landing among them, the men expressed their joy, as those at bay Chaleur had done, by singing and dancing. But they had caused all their women,[Pg 337] except 2 or 3, to flee into the woods. By giving a comb and a tin bell to each of the women who had ventured to remain, the avarice of the men was excited, and they quickly caused their women, to the number of about 20, to sally from the woods, to each of whom the same present was made. They caressed Cartier by touching and rubbing him with their hands; they also sung and danced. Their nets were made of a species of indigenous hemp; they possessed also, a kind of "millet" called "kapaige," beans called "Sahu," and nuts called "Cahehya." If any thing was exhibited, which they did not know, or understand, they shook their heads saying "Nohda." It is added that they never come to the sea, except in fishing time, which, we may remark, was probably the cause of their having no lodges, or much other property about them. They would naturally wish to disencumber their canoes as much as possible, in these summer excursions, that they might freight them back with dried fish. The language spoken by these Gaspe Indians is manifestly of the Iroquois type. "Cahehya," is, with a slight difference, the term for fruit, in the Oneida.

On the 24th July, Cartier set up a cross thirty feet high, inscribed, "Vive le Roy de France." The natives who were present at this ceremony, seem, on a little reflection, to have conceived the true intent of it, and their chief complained of it, in a "long oration," giving them to understand "that the country was his, and that we should not set up any cross, without his leave." Having quieted the old chief's fears, and made use of a little duplicity, to get him to come alongside, they seized two of the natives for the purpose of taking them to France, and on the next day set sail, up the gulf. After making some further examinations of the gulf, and being foiled in an attempt to enter the mouth of a river, Cartier turned his thoughts on a return. He was alarmed by the furious tides setting out of the St. Lawrence; the weather was becoming tempestuous, and under these circumstances he assembled his captains and principal men, "to put the question as to the expediency of continuing the voyage." They advised him to this effect. That, considering that easterly winds began to prevail—"that there was nothing to be gotten"—that, the impetuosity of the tides was such "That they did but fall," and that storms and tempests began to reign—and moreover, that they must either promptly return home, or else remain where they were till spring, it was expedient to return. With this counsel he complied. No time was lost in retracing their outward track, along the Newfoundland coast. They reached the port of "White Sands," on the 9th of August. On the 15th, being "the feast of the Assumption of Our Lady," after service, Cartier took his departure from the coast. He encountered a heavy storm, of three days continuance, "about the middle of the sea," and reached the port of St. Malo, on the 5th of September, after an absence of four months and sixteen days.

This comprises the substance of the first voyage of discovery, of which[Pg 338] we have knowledge, ever made within the waters of the St. Lawrence. The Newfoundland and Nova Scotia coasts, together with the shores of the North Atlantic generally, had been discovered by Cabot, 37 years before. The banks of Newfoundland had been resorted to, as is known pretty freely for the purpose of fishing, for 26 years of this period, and the natives had been at least, in one instance, taken to Europe. But the existence of the St. Lawrence appears not to have been known. Cartier, is, therefore, the true discoverer of Canada, although he was not its founder. The latter honour was reserved for another. In the two succeeding voyages made by Cartier, of which it is proposed to make a synopsis, his title as a discoverer, is still more fully established.


A.D. 1535, May, 19th, Cartier left St. Malo, on his second voyage of discovery, "to the islands of Canada, Hochelaga, and Saguenay," with three ships—the "Hermina" of 100 to 120 tons—the "little Hermina" of 60 tons, and the "Hermerillon" of 40 tons, commanded by separate masters, acting under his orders as "General." He was accompanied by several gentlemen and adventurers, among whom the narrator of the voyage mentions, "Master Claudius de Pont Briand, son to the Lord of Montceuell, and cup-bearer to the Dauphin of France; Charles of Pomerais, and John Powlet." He suffered a severe gale on the outward passage, in which the ships parted company. Cartier reached the coast of Newfoundland on the 7th July, and was not rejoined by the other vessels till the 26th, on which day the missing vessels entered "the port of White Sands" in the bay des Chasteaux, the place previously designated for their general rendezvous.

On the 27th he continued his voyage along the coast, keeping in sight of land, and consequently running great risks, from the numerous shoals he encountered in seeking out anchorages. Many of the islands and headlands named in the previous voyage, were observed, and names were bestowed upon others, which had before escaped notice. Soundings and courses and distances, are detailed with the tedious prolixity, and probably, with the uncertainty of the era. Nothing of importance occurred until the 8th of August, when Cartier entered the gulf, where he had previously encountered such storms, and which he now named St. Lawrence. From thence on the 12th, he pursued his voyage westward "about 25 leagues" to a cape named "Assumption," which appears to have been part of the Nova Scotia coast. It is quite evident that the idea of a continuous continent was not entertained by Cartier at this period, although the Cabots had discovered and run down the coast nearly 40 years before (1497.) He constantly speaks of his discoveries as "islands"[Pg 339] and the great object of anxiety seems to have been, to find the long sought "passage" so often mentioned in his journals.

The two natives whom he had seized on the previous voyage, now told him, that cape Assumption was a part of the "southern coast," or main,—that there was an island north of the passage to "Honguedo" where they had been taken the year before, and that "two days journey from the said cape, and island, began the kingdom of Saguenay."

In consequence of this information, and a wish to revisit "the land he had before espied," Cartier turned his course towards the north, and re-entering the Gulf of St. Lawrence, came to the entrance of the river, which is stated to be "about thirty leagues" across. Here, the two natives told him, was the commencement of "Saguenay,"—that it was an inhabited country, and produced "red copper." They further informed him, that this was the mouth of the "great river of Hochelaga, and ready way to Canada,"—that it narrowed in the ascent towards Canada, the waters becoming fresh; that its sources were so remote that they had never heard of any man who had visited them, and that boats would be required to complete the ascent.

This information appears to have operated as a disappointment on Cartier, and he determined to explore northward from the gulf, "because he would know" to use the quaint language of the narrator, "if between the lands towards the north any passage might be discovered." No such passage could however be found, and after devoting ten or twelve days to re-examinations of points and islands before but imperfectly discovered, or to the discovery of others, he returned to the river St. Lawrence, which he began to ascend: and on the 1st Sept. he came to the entrance of the Saguenay river, which is described as a bold and deep stream, entering the St. Lawrence, between bare, precipitous rocks, crowned with trees. Here they encountered four canoes of Indians, who evinced their characteristic caution and shyness. On being hailed, however, by the two captive natives, who disclosed to them, their names, they came along side. But the journal records no further particulars of this interview. They proceeded up the river next day. The tides are noticed as being "very swift and dangerous," and the "current" is described as equalling that at Bordeaux. Many tortoises were seen at the "Isle of Condres," and a species of fish, which are described of equalling a porpoise in size, with a head resembling a greyhound's, and of unspotted whiteness. It may be vague to offer a conjecture from such a description as to the species of fish intended, but as the natives reported them to be "very savoury and good to be eaten," it may be inferred, that the sturgeon was meant. Many of the descriptions of the animal productions of America, given by Cartier, appear to be drawn up, rather with a view to excite wonder, in an age when wonders were both industriously sought, and readily credited, than to convey any accurate idea of their true characters and properties.

[Pg 340]On the 7th of Sept. they reached the island now called Orleans, where, it is said "the country of Canada beginneth." This island is stated to be ten leagues long, and five broad, being inhabited by natives who lived exclusively by fishing. Having anchored his vessels in the channel, he made a formal landing in his boats, taking the two captives, Domaigaia, and Taignoagny, as interpreters. The natives at first fled, but hearing themselves addressed in their own tongue, and finding the captives to be their own countrymen, friendly intercourse at once ensued. The natives evinced their joy by dancing, and "showing many sorts of ceremonies." They presented Cartier, "eels and other sorts of fishes, with two or three burdens of great millet, wherewith they make their bread, and many great mush mellons." This "great millet" appears to have been zea mais, which is here for the first time noticed, amongst the northern Indians. The report of the arrival of their lost countrymen D. and T. seemed to have put all the surrounding villages in commotion, and Cartier found himself thronged with visitors, to whom he gave presents, trifling in themselves, but of much value in the eyes of the Indians. The utmost harmony and good feeling appear to have prevailed.

On the following day Donnacona, who is courteously styled the Lord of Agouhanna, visited the ships, with 12 boats, or canoes—ten of which however, he directed to stay at a distance, and with the other two and 16 men approached the vessels. A friendly conference ensued. The chief, when he drew near the headmost vessel began "to frame a long oration, moving all his body and members after a strange fashion." When he reached Cartier's ship, the captives entered into free discourse with him, imparting the observations they had made in France, and the kind treatment they had experienced. At this recital Donnacona was so much pleased, that he desired Cartier to reach him his arm, that he might kiss it. He not only kissed it, but "laid it about his neck, for so they use to do, when they will make much of one." Cartier then entered into the chief's boat, "causing bread and wine to be brought," and after eating and drinking with him and his followers, the interview terminated in mutual satisfaction.

The advanced state of the season, and the determination to visit Hochelaga (now Montreal) before the ice formed, admonished Cartier to look for a harbour, which would afford a safe anchorage for his largest vessels during the winter. He selected "a little river and haven," opposite the head of the island, to which he gave the name of "Santa Croix," being in the vicinity of Donnacona's village. No time was lost in bringing up and mooring the vessels, and driving piles into the harbour for their better security. While engaged in this work, further acquaintance was made with the natives, and their opinion of Cartier's visit, began to manifest itself, by which it appeared, that the friendship established with him was rather apparent, than real. About this time Taignoagny and[Pg 341] Domaigaia were suffered to return to their villages, and it soon became apparent, that the knowledge they had acquired of the French, would be wielded to put their countrymen on their guard against encroachments upon their soil. Taignoagny, in particular, rendered himself obnoxious to the French, by his sullen and altered conduct, and the activity he afterwards manifested in thwarting Cartier's design of visiting the island of Hochelaga, although it appears, he had, previous to leaving the vessels, promised to serve as a guide on the expedition.

Donnacona himself opposed the projected visit, by argument, by artifice, and finally, by the extraordinary resource of human gifts. His aversion to it first evinced itself by keeping aloof, and adopting a shy and suspicious demeanour. Cartier finding this chief, with T. and D. and a numerous retinue in his vicinity, "under a point or nook of land," ordered a part of his men to follow him, and suddenly presented himself in the midst of them. After mutual salutations, Taignoagny got up and addressed him, in behalf of Donnacona, complaining that they came armed, to which Cartier replied that, it was the custom of his country, and a custom he could not dispense with. The bustle and heat of the introduction being over, Cartier played the part of a politic diplomatist, and was met by Donnacona and his counsellors on his own grounds, and the whole interview, though it resulted in what is called "a marvellous steadfast league of friendship" can only be looked upon, as a strife, in which it is the object of both parties to observe the most profound dissimulation. This "league" was ratified by the natives, with three loud cries, "a most horrible thing to hear" says the narrator.

On the very next day Donnacona, attended with T. and D. and 10 or 12 "of the chiefest of the country, with more than 500 persons, men, women and children," came on board of the vessels, at their moorings, to protest against the intended voyage of exploration. Taignoagny opened the conference, by saying to Cartier, that Donnacona regretted his design of visiting Hochelaga, and had forbid any of his people from accompanying him, because the river itself "was of no importance." Cartier replied that his decision was made, and urged the speaker to go with him, as he had promised, offering to make the voyage every way advantageous to him. A prompt refusal, on the part of T. and the sudden withdrawal of the whole collected multitude, terminated this interview.

On the next day Donnacona re-appeared with all his followers, bringing presents of fish, singing and dancing. He then caused all his people to pass to one side, and drawing a circle in the sand, requested Cartier and his followers, to enter into it. This arrangement concluded, he began an address, "holding in one of his hands a maiden child ten or twelve years old," whom he presented to Cartier, the multitude at the same time giving three shouts. He then brought forward two male children, separately, presenting them in the same manner, and his people[Pg 342] at each presentation, expressing their assent by shouts. Taignoagny, who by this time had drawn upon himself the epithet of "crafty knave" told the "captain" (as Cartier is all along termed,) that one of the children was his own brother, and that the girl was a daughter of Donnacona's "own sister," and that this presentation, was made to him, solely with a view of dissuading him from his expedition. Cartier persisted in saying, that his mind was made up, and could not be altered. Here, Domaigaia interposed, and said, that the children were offered as "a sign and token of good will and security," and not with any specific purpose of dissuading him from the expedition. High words passed between the two liberated captives, from which it was evident that one, or the other, had either misconceived or misrepresented the object of the gift. Cartier however, took the children, and gave Donnacona "two swords and two copper basins," for which he returned thanks, and "commanded all his people to sing and dance," and requested the captain to cause a piece of artillery to be discharged for his gratification. Cartier readily improved this hint, to show them the destructive effects of European artillery, and at a signal, ordered twelve pieces, charged with ball, to be fired into the contiguous forest, by which they were so astounded that they "put themselves to flight, howling, crying, and shrieking, so that it seemed hell was broke loose."

These attempts to frustrate the purposed voyage, having failed, the natives endeavoured to put the captain's credulity to the test, and operate upon his fears. For this purpose three natives were disguised to play the part of "devils," wrapped in skins, besmeared, and provided with horns. Thus equipped they took advantage of the tide, to drop down along side Cartier's vessels, uttering words of unintelligible import as they passed, but keeping their faces steadfastly directed toward the wood. At the same time Donnacona, and his people rushed out of the wood to the shore,—attracting the attention of the ships' crews in various ways, and finally seized the mock "devils" at the moment of their landing, and carried them into the woods, where their revelations were uttered.

The result of this clumsy trick, was announced by Taignoagny and Domaigaia, who said, that their god "Cudruaigny had spoken in Hochelaga"—importing ill tidings to the French, and that he had sent these three men to inform them that, there was so much ice and snow in the country, that whoever entered it, must die. After some interrogatives pro and con, in the course of which the power of "his Priests" was oddly contrasted by the French commander with that of the "devils," both Taignoagny and Domaigaia coincided in finally declaring that Donnacona, "would by no means permit that any of them should go with him to Hochelaga," unless he would leave hostages in his hands.

All these artifices appear to have had but little effect on Cartier's plan. He told his freed interpreters, that if they would not go willingly, they[Pg 343] might stay, and he would prosecute the voyage without them. Accordingly, having finished mooring his vessels, on the 19th September he set out to explore the upper portions of the river, taking his smallest vessel and two boats with fifty mariners, and the supernumerary gentlemen of his party. A voyage of ten days brought him to an expansion of the river, which he named the lake of Angolesme, but which is now known under the name of St. Peter. Here the shallowness of the water, and rapidity of the current above, induced him to leave the "Hermerillon," and he proceeded with the two boats and twenty-eight armed men. The fertility of the shore, the beauty and luxuriance of the forest trees, mantled as they often were, with the vine loaded with clusters of grapes, the variety of water fowl, and above all the friendly treatment they every where received from the Indians, excited unmingled admiration. One of the chiefs whom they encountered presented Cartier with two children, his son and daughter, the latter of whom, being 7 or 8 years old, he accepted. On another occasion he was carried ashore by one of a party of hunters, as "lightly and easily as if he had been a child of five years old." Presents of fish were made, at every point, where he came in contact with the natives, who seemed to vie with each other in acts of hospitality.

These marks of welcome and respect continued to be manifested during the remainder of the journey to Hochelaga, where he arrived on the 2d of October. A multitude of both sexes and all ages had collected on the shore to witness his approach, and welcome his arrival. They expressed their joy by dancing, "clustering about us, making much of us, bringing their young children in their arms only to have our captain and his company touch them." Cartier landed, and spent half an hour in receiving their caresses, and distributed tin beads to the women, and knives to some of the men, and then "returned to the boats to supper." The natives built large fires on the beach, and continued dancing, and merry making all night, frequently exclaiming Aguiaze, which is said to signify "mirth and safety."

Early the next morning Cartier having "very gorgeously attired himself," and taking 20 mariners, with his officers and supernumeraries, landed for the purpose of visiting the town, taking some of t