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awake), better known in the United States by the name of Red-jacket, in a
letter communicated to Governor De Witt Clinton, at a treaty held at
Albany, says, "Our great father, the President, has recommended to our
young men to be industrious, to plough and to sow. This we have done; and
we are thankful for the advice, and for the means he has afforded us of
carrying it into effect. We are happier in consequence of it; _but another
thing recommended to us, has created great confusion among us, and is
making us a quarrelsome and divided people; and that is, the introduction
of preachers into our nation_. These black-coats contrive to get the
consent of some of the Indians to preach among us; and whenever this is
the case, confusion and disorder are sure to follow, and the encroachment
of the whites on our lands is the inevitable consequence.

"The governor must not think hard of me for speaking thus of the
preachers: I have observed their progress, and whenever I look back to
see what has taken place of old, I perceive that whenever they came among
the Indians, they were the forerunners of their dispersion; that they
always excited enmities and quarrels amongst them; that they introduced
the white people on their lands, by whom they were robbed and plundered of
their property; and that the Indians were sure to dwindle and decrease,
and be driven back, in proportion to the number of preachers that came
among them.

"Each nation has its own customs and its own religion. The Indians have
theirs, given them by the Great Spirit, under which they were happy. It
was not intended that they should embrace the religion of the whites, and
be destroyed by the attempt to make them think differently on that subject
from their fathers.

"It is true, these preachers have got the consent of some of the chiefs to
stay and preach amongst us; but I and my friends know this to be wrong,
and that they ought to be removed; besides, we have been threatened by Mr.
Hyde - who came among us as a schoolmaster and a teacher of our children,
but has now become a black-coat, and refuses to teach them any more - that
unless we listen to his preaching and become Christians, we shall be
turned off our lands. We wish to know from the governor, if this is to be
so? and if he has no right to say so, we think _he_ ought to be turned off
our lands, and not allowed to plague us any more. We shall never be at
peace while he is among us.

"We are afraid too, that these preachers, by and by, will become poor,
_and force us to pay them for living among us, and disturbing us._

"Some of our chiefs have got lazy, and instead of cultivating their lands
themselves, employ white people to do so. There are now eleven families
living on our reservation at Buffalo; this is wrong, and ought not to be
permitted. The great source of all our grievances is, that the whites are
among us. Let _them_ be removed, and we will be happy and contented among
ourselves. We now cry to the governor for help, and hope that he will
attend to our complaints, and speedily give us redress."[21]

This melancholy hostility to the missionaries is not confined to a
particular tribe or nation of Indians, for all those people, in every
situation, from the base of the Alleghanies to the foot of the Rocky
mountains, declare the same sentiments on this subject; and although
policy or courtesy may induce some chiefs to express themselves less
strongly than Red-jacket has expressed himself, we have but too many
proofs that their feelings are not more moderate. On the fourth of
February, 1822, the president of the United States, in council, received a
deputation of Indians, from the principal nations west of the
Mississippi, who came under the protection of Major O'Fallon, when each
chief delivered a speech on the occasion. I shall here insert an extract
from that of the "Wandering Pawnee" chief, more as a specimen of Indian
wisdom and eloquence than as bearing particularly on the subject. Speaking
of the Great Spirit, he said, "We worship him not as you do. We differ
from you in appearance, and manners, as well as in our customs; and we
differ from you in our religion. We have no large houses, as you have, to
worship the Great Spirit in: if we had them to-day, we should want others
to-morrow; for we have not like you a fixed habitation - we have no settled
home except our villages, where we remain but two months in twelve. We,
like animals, rove through the country; whilst you whites reside between
us and heaven. But still, my great Father, we love the Great Spirit - we
acknowledge his supreme power - our peace, our health, and our happiness
depend upon him, and our lives belong to him - he made us, and he can
destroy us.

"My great Father, - some of your good chiefs, as they are called
(missionaries), have proposed to send some of their good people among us
to change our habits, to make us work for them, and live like the white
people. I will not tell a lie - I am going to tell the truth. You love your
country - you love your people - you love the manner in which they live, and
you think your people brave. I am like you, my great Father; I love my
country - I love my people - I love the manner in which we live, and think
myself and warriors brave.[22] Spare me then, my Father; let me enjoy my
country, and pursue the buffalo and the beaver, and the other wild animals
of our country, and I will trade their skins with your people. I have
grown up and lived thus long without work - I am in hopes you will suffer
me to die without it. We have plenty of buffalo, beaver, deer, and other
wild animals - we have also an abundance of horses - we have every thing we
want - we have plenty of land, _if you will keep your people off it_. My
Father has a piece on which he lives (Council bluffs), and we wish him to
enjoy it - we have enough without it - but we wish him to live near us, to
give us good council - to keep our ears and eyes open, that we may continue
to pursue the right road - the road to happiness. He settles all
differences between us and the whites, between the red-skins
themselves - he makes the whites do justice to the red-skins, and he makes
the red-skins do justice to the whites. He saves the effusion of human
blood, and restores peace and happiness in the land. You have already sent
us a father (Major O'Fallon); it is enough - he knows us, and we know
him - we keep our eye constantly upon him, and since we have heard _your_
words, we will listen more attentively to _his_.

"It is too soon, my great Father, to send those good chiefs amongst us.
_We are not starving yet_ - we wish you to permit us to enjoy the chase
until the game of our country is exhausted - until the wild animals become
extinct. Let us exhaust our present resources before you make us toil and
interrupt our happiness. Let me continue to live as I have done; and after
I have passed to the good or evil spirit, from off the wilderness of my
present life, the subsistence of my children may become so precarious as
to need and embrace the assistance of those good people.

"There was a time when we did not know the whites - our wants were then
fewer than they are now. They were always within our control - we had then
seen nothing which we could not get. Before our intercourse with the
whites (who have caused such a destruction in our game) we could lie down
to sleep, and when we awoke we would find the buffalo feeding around our
camp - but now we are killing them for their skins, and feeding the wolves
with their flesh, to make our children cry over their bones.

"Here, my great Father, is a pipe which I present to you, as I am
accustomed to present pipes to all the Red-skins in peace with us. It is
filled with such tobacco as we were accustomed to smoke before we knew
the white people. It is pleasant, and the spontaneous growth of the most
remote parts of our country. I know that the robes, leggings, and
moccasins, and bear-claws are of little value to _you_; but we wish you to
have them deposited and preserved in some conspicuous part of your lodge,
so that when we are gone and the sod turned over our bones, if our
children should visit this place, as we do now, they may see and recognize
with pleasure the depositories of their fathers; and reflect on the times
that are past."

I shall now take leave of the Indians and their political condition, by
observing that the proceedings of the American government, throughout,
towards this brave but unfortunate race, have only been exceeded in
atrocity by the past and present conduct of the East India government
towards the pusillanimous but unoffending Hindoos.

_Note_. - This chapter I wrote during my stay in Kentucky, and the
first part of it, in substance, was inserted in the "Kentucky
Intelligencer," at the request of the talented editor and
proprietor, John Mullay, Esq.

FOOTNOTES:

[15] In November, 1785, during the articles of confederation, a treaty is
concluded with the Cherokees, which establishes a boundary, and allots to
the Indians a great extent of country, now within the limits of North
Carolina and Georgia.

In 1791, the treaty of Holston is concluded; by which a new boundary is
agreed upon. This was the first treaty made by the United States under
their present constitution; and by the seventh article, a solemn
guarantee is given for all the lands not then ceded.

On the 7th of February, 1792, by an additional article to the last
treaty, 500 dollars are added to the stipulated annuity.

In June, 1794, another treaty is entered into, in which the provisions of
the treaty of 1791 are revived, an addition is made to the annuity, and
provision made for marking the boundary line.

In October, 1798, a treaty is concluded which revives former treaties,
and curtails the boundary of Indian lands by a cession to the United
States, for an additional compensation.

In October, 1804, a treaty is concluded, by which, for a consideration
specified, more land is ceded.

In October, 1805, two treaties are made, by which an additional quantity
of land is ceded.

On 7th January, 1806, by another treaty, more land is ceded to the United
States.

In September, 1807, the boundary line intended in the last treaty, is
satisfactorily ascertained.

On 22d March, 1816, a treaty is concluded, by which lands in South
Carolina are ceded, for which the United States engage South Carolina
shall pay. On the same day another treaty is made, by which the Indians
agree to allow the use of the water-courses in their country, and also to
permit roads to be made through the same.

On the 14th of September, 1816, a treaty is made, by which an additional
quantity of land is ceded to the United States.

On the 8th of July, 1817, a treaty is concluded, by which an exchange of
lands is agreed on, and a plan for dividing the Cherokees settled.

On the 27th of February, 1819, another treaty is concluded, in execution
of the stipulations contained in that of 1817, in several particulars,
and in which an additional tract of country is ceded to the United
States.

[16] "The white hunter, on encamping in his journeys, cuts down green
trees, and builds a large fire of long logs, sitting at some distance
from it. The Indian hunts up a few dry limbs, cracks them into little
pieces a foot in length, builds a small fire, and sits close to it. He
gets as much warmth as the white hunter without half the labour, and does
not burn more than a fiftieth part of the wood. The Indian considers the
forest his own, and is careful in using and preserving every thing which
it affords. He never kills more than he has occasion for. The white
hunter destroys all before him, and cannot resist the opportunity of
killing game, although he neither wants the meat nor can carry the skins.
I was particularly struck with this wanton practice, which lately
occurred on White river. A hunter returning from the woods, heavily laden
with the flesh and skins of five bears, unexpectedly arrived in the midst
of a drove of buffalos, and wantonly shot down three, having no other
object than the sport of killing them. This is one of the causes
of the enmity existing between the white and red hunters of
Missouri". - _Schoolcroft's Tour in Missouri_, page 52.

[17] Does the General include among the arts of civilization, that of
systematically robbing the Indians of their farms and hunting grounds? If
so, no doubt _these arts of civilization_, must inevitably "destroy the
resources of the savage," and "doom him to weakness and decay."

[18] The Indians apply the term "Christian honesty," precisely in the
same sense that the Romans applied "_Punica fides_."

[19] There is an old Indian at present in the Missouri territory, to whom
his tribe has given the cognomen of "much-water," from the circumstance
of his having been baptized so frequently.

[20] Heriot says (page 320), "They have evinced a decided attachment to
their ancient habits, and have _gained_ less from the means that might
have smoothed the asperities of their condition, than they have _lost_ by
copying the vices of those, who exhibited to their view the arts of
civilization."

[21] This letter was dictated by Red-jacket, and interpreted by Henry
Obeal, in the presence of ten chiefs, whose names are affixed, at
Canandaigua, January 18, 1821.

[22] "The attachment which savages entertain for their mode of life
supersedes every allurement, however powerful, to change it. Many
Frenchmen have lived with them, and have imbibed such an invincible
partiality for that independent and erratic condition, that no means
could prevail on them to abandon it. On the contrary, no single instance
has yet occurred of a savage being able to reconcile himself to a state
of civilization. Infants have been taken from among the natives, and
educated with much care in France, where they could not possibly have
intercourse with their countrymen and relations. Although they had
remained several years in that country, and could not form the smallest
idea of the wilds of America, the force of blood predominated over that
of education: no sooner did they find themselves at liberty than they
tore their clothes in pieces, and went to traverse the forests in search
of their countrymen, whose mode of life appeared to them far more
agreeable than that which they had led among the French." - _-Heriot_, p.
354.

This passage of Heriot's is taken nearly verbatim from Charlevoix, v. 2,
p. 109.




CHAPTER X.


I left Kentucky, and passed up the river to Wheeling, in Virginia. There
is little worthy of observation encountered in a passage up this part of
the Ohio, except the peculiar character of the stream, which has been
before alluded to. At Marietta, at the mouth of the Muskingum,
ship-building is carried on; and vessels have been constructed at
Pittsburg, full 2000 miles from the gulf of Mexico. About seventy miles up
the Kenhawa river, in Virginia, are situated the celebrated salt springs,
the most productive of any in the Union. They are at present in the
possession of a chartered company, which limits the manufacture to
800,000 bushels annually, but it is estimated that the fifty-seven wells
are capable of yielding 50,000 bushels each, per annum, which would make
an aggregate of 2,850,000 bushels. Many of these springs issue out of
rocks, and the water is so strongly impregnated with salt, that from 90 to
130 gallons yield a bushel. The whole western country bordering the Ohio
and its tributaries, is supplied with salt from these works.

Wheeling, although not large, enjoys a considerable share of commercial
intercourse, being an entrepôt for eastern merchandize, which is
transported from the Atlantic cities across the mountains to this town and
Pittsburg, and from thence by water to the different towns along the
rivers.

The process of "hauling" merchandize from Baltimore and Philadelphia to
the banks of the Ohio, and _vice versâ_, is rather tedious, the roads
lying across steep and rugged mountains. Large covered waggons, light and
strong, drawn by five or six horses, two and two, are employed for this
purpose. The waggoner always rides the near shaft horse, and guides the
team by means of reins, a whip, and his voice. The time generally consumed
in one of these journeys is from twenty to twenty-five days.

All the mountains or hills on the upper part of the Ohio, from Wheeling to
Pittsburg, contain immense beds of coal; this added to the mineral
productions, particularly that of iron ore, which abound in this section
of country, offers advantages for manufacturing, which are of considerable
importance, and are fully appreciated. Pittsburg is called the Birmingham
of America. Some of those coal beds are well circumstanced, the coal being
found immediately under the super-stratum, and the galleries frequently
running out on the high road. Notwithstanding the local advantages, and
the protection and encouragement at present afforded by the tariff,
England need never fear any extensive competition with her manufactures
in foreign markets from America, as the high spirit of the people of that
country will always prevent them from pursuing, extensively, the sordid
occupations of the loom or the workshop.

The upper parts of Virginia and Pennsylvania are in a high state of
improvement; the land is hilly, and the face of the country picturesque.
The farms are well cultivated, and there is a large portion of pasture
land in this and the adjoining states. I encountered several large droves
of horses and black cattle on their way to the neighbourhood of
Philadelphia and to the state of New York. The black cattle are purchased
principally in Ohio, whence they are brought into the Atlantic states, to
be fattened and consumed. The farmers and their families in Pennsylvania,
have an appearance of comfort and respectability a good deal resembling
that of the substantial English yeoman; yet farming here, as in all parts
of the country, is a laborious occupation.

I crossed the Monongahela at Williamsport, and the Youghaghany at
Robstown, and so on through Mountpleasant to the first ridge of mountains,
called "the chestnut ridge." I determined on crossing the mountains on
foot; and after having made arrangements to that effect, I commenced
sauntering along the road. Near Mountpleasant, I stopped to dine at the
house of a Dutchman by descent. After dinner, the party adjourned, as is
customary, to the bar-room, when divers political and polemical topics
were canvassed with the usual national warmth. An account of his late
Majesty's death was inserted in a Philadelphia paper, and happened to be
noticed by one of the politicians present, when the landlord asked me how
we elected our king in England. I replied that he was not elected, but
that he became king by birthright, &c. A Kentuckian observed, placing his
leg on the back of the next chair, "That's a kind of unnatural." An
Indianian said, "I don't believe in that system myself." A third - "Do you
mean to tell me, that because the last king was a smart man and knew his
duty, that his son, or his brother, should be a smart man, and fit for the
situation?" I explained that we had a premier, ministers, &c.; - when the
last gentleman replied, "Then you pay half-a-dozen men to do one man's
business. Yes - yes - that may do for Englishmen very well; but, I guess, it
would not go down here - no, no, Americans are a little more enlightened
than to stand that kind of wiggery." During this conversation, a person
had stepped into the room, and had taken his seat in silence. I was about
to reply to the last observations of my antagonist, when this gentleman
opened out, with, "yes! that may do for Englishmen very well" - he was an
Englishman, I knew at once by his accent, and I verily believe the
identical radical who set the village of Bracebridge by the ears, and
pitched the villagers to the devil, on seeing them grin through a
horse-collar, when they should have been calculating the interest of the
national debt, or conning over the list of sinecure placemen. He held in
his hand, instead of "Cobbett's Register," the "Greenville
Republican." - He had substituted for his short-sleeved coat, "a
round-about." - He seemed to have put on flesh, and looked somewhat more
contented. "Yes, yes," he says, "that may do for Englishmen very well, but
it won't do here. Here we make our own laws, and we keep them too. It may
do for Englishmen very well, to have _the liberty_ of paying taxes for the
support of the nobility. To have _the liberty_ of being incarcerated in a
gaol, for shooting the wild animals of the country. To have _the liberty_
of being seized by a press-gang, torn away from their wives and families,
and flogged at the discretion of my lord Tom, Dick, or Harry's bastard."
At this, the Kentuckian gnashed his teeth, and instinctively grasped his
hunting-knife; - an old Indian doctor, who was squatting in one corner of
the room, said, slowly and emphatically, as his eyes glared, his nostrils
dilated, and his lip curled with contempt - "The Englishman is a
dog" - while a Georgian slave, who stood behind his master's chair, grinned
and chuckled with delight, as he said - "_poor_ Englishman, him meaner man
den black nigger." - "To have," continued the Englishman, "_the liberty_ of
being transported for seven years for being caught learning the use of the
sword or the musket. To have the tenth lamb, and the tenth sheaf seized,
or the blanket torn from off his bed, to pay a bloated, a plethoric bishop
or parson, - to be kicked and cuffed about by a parcel of 'Bourbon
_gendarmerie_' - Liberty! - why hell sweat" - here I - slipped out at the side
door into the water-melon patch. As I receded, I heard the whole party
burst out into an obstreperous fit of laughter. - A few broken sentences,
from the Kentuckian and the radical, reached my ear, such as "backed
out" - "damned aristocratic." I returned in about half an hour to pay my
bill, when I could observe one or two of those doughty politicians who
remained, leering at me most significantly. However, I - "smiled, and said
nothing."

"The Chestnut ridge" is a chain of rocky, barren mountains, covered with
wood, and the ascent is steep and difficult. It is named from the quantity
of chestnut trees that compose the bulk of its timber. Being a little
fatigued in ascending, I sat down in a wood of scrub oak. When I had been
some time seated on a large stone, my ear caught the gliding of a snake.
Turning quickly, I perceived, at about a yard's distance, a reptile of
that beautiful species the rattle-snake. He ceased moving: I jumped up,
and struck at his head with a stick, but missed the blow. He instantly
coiled and rattled. I now retreated beyond the range of his spring.
Perceiving that I had no intention of giving him fair play by coming
within his reach, he suddenly uncoiled and glid across a log, thinking to
make good his retreat; but being determined on having - not his scalp, for
the head of a rattle-snake is rather a dangerous toy - but his rattle, I
pursued him across the log. He now coiled again, and rattled most
furiously, thus indicating his extreme wrath at being attacked: the bite
of this reptile is most venomous when he is most enraged. I took up a flat
stone, about six inches square, and lobbed it on his coil. He suddenly
darted out towards me; but, as I had anticipated, he was encumbered with
the stone. I now advanced, and struck him on the head with my stick. I
repeated the blow until he seemed to be deprived of sensation, when I drew
my hunting knife and decapitated him. For a full hour afterwards the body
retained all the vigour and sensitiveness which it possessed previous to
decapitation, and on touching any part of it, would twist round in the
same manner as when the animal was perfect. Sensation gradually
disappeared, departing first from the extremities - more towards the
wounded extremity than towards the other, but gradually from both, until
it was entirely gone. The length of this reptile was about four feet, and
the skin was extremely beautiful. Nothing could exceed the beauty of his
eye. A clear black lustre characterizes the eye of this animal, and is
said to produce so powerful an effect on birds and smaller animals, as to
deprive them of the power of escaping. This snake had eight rattles, so
that he must have been at least eleven years old. I understood afterwards
that there was a rattle-snakes' den in the neighbourhood. They appear to
live in society, and the large quantities that are frequently found
congregated together are astonishing. The Jacksonville (Illinois) Gazette
of the 22d April, 1830, says, "Last week, a den of rattle-snakes was


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Online LibraryS.A. FerrallA Ramble of Six Thousand Miles through the United States of America → online text (page 12 of 15)