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land, were prevented from going with the others, and upon the 28th of June, at German Flats, gave to the Americans a pledge of neutrality. *
While the members of the Northern Confederacy were thus divided in their attachments, the Delawares of the upper Ohio were by no means unanimous in their opinions as to this puzzling family quarrel which was coming on; and Congress, having been informed on the first day of June, that the Western Virginians stood in fear of the Indians, with wbom Lord Dunmore, in his small way, was, as they thought, tampering, t it was determined to have a Congress called at Pittsburg, to explain to the poor red men the causes of the sudden division of their old enemies, and try to persuade them to keep peace. This Congress did not meet, however, until October. I
Nor was it from the northern and western tribes only, that hostilities were feared. The Cherokees and their neighbours were much dreaded, and not without cause ; as they were then less under the control of the whites, than either the Iroquois or Delawares, and might, in the hope of securing their freedom, be led to unite, in a warfare of extermination, against the Carolinas. We find, accordingly, that early in July, Congress having determined to seek the alliance of the several Indian nations, three departments were formed ; $ a northern one, including the Six Nations and all north and east of them, to the charge of which General Schuyler, Oliver Wolcott, and three others, were appointed ; a middle department, including the western Indians, who were to be looked to by Messieurs Franklin, Henry, and Wilson ; and a southern department, including all the tribes south of Kentucky, over which commissioners were to preside under the appointment of the South Carolina Council of Safety. These commissioners were to keep a close watch upon the nations in their several departments, and upon the King's Superintendents among them. These officers they were to seize, if they had reason to think them engaged in stirring up the natives against the colonies, and in all ways were to seek to keep those natives quiet and out of the contest. Talks were also prepared to send to the several tribes, in which an attempt was made to illustrate the relations between England * Stone, Vol. I. p. 81.
1 Old Journals, Vol. I. p. 78. Heckewelder's Narrative, p. 136. § Old Journals, Vol. I. p. 113, &c.
ed the whold the purposaludge from Heo the
and America, by comparing the last to a child ordered to carry a pack too heavy for its strength. The boy complains, and, for answer, the pack is made still heavier. Again and again the poor urchin remonstrates, but the bad servants misrepresent the matter to the father, and the boy gets ever a heavier burden, till at last, almost broken-backed, he throws off the load altogether, and says he will carry it no longer. This allegory was intended to make the matter clear to the pack-carrying red men, and, if we may judge from Heckewelder's account, it answered the purpose ; for, he says, the Delawares reported the whole story very correctly. Indeed, he gives their report upon the 137th page of his “ Narrative,” which report agrees very well with the original speech, preserved to us in the Journals of the Old Congress. *
The first conference, held by the commissioners, was in the northern department, a grand congress coming together at Albany in August. Of this congress a full account may be found in Colonel Stone's first volume.t It did not, however, fully represent the Six Nations, and some, even of those who were present, immediately afterwards deserted to the British ; so that the result was slight.
The next conference was held at Pittsburg with the western Indians. This was in October, and was attended by the Delawares, Senecas, and, perhaps, some of the Shawanese. The Delaware nation were, as we have already said, divided in their views touching the Americans. One of their chieftains, known to us as Captain White-Eyes, a man, as it would seem, of high character and clear mind, of courage such as became the leader of a race, whose most common virtues were those of the wildman, and of a forbearance and kindness as unusual, as fearlessness was frequent, among his people, — this true man was in favor of peace; and his influence carried with him a strong party. But there were others, again, who longed for war, and wished to carry the whole nation over to the British interest. These were led by a cunning and talented man, called Captain Pipe, who, without the energy, moral daring, and unclouded honesty of his opponent, had many qualities admirably suited to win and rule Indians. Between these two men there was a division from the beginning of the Revolution till the death
hon virtues became the characte
„Eyes. Atewas presenthrough theird been used
of White-Eyes. At the Pittsburg Conference, the PeaceChief, as he was called, was present, and there asserted his freedom of the Six Nations, who, through their emissaries present, tried to bend the Delawares, as they had been used to do. His bold denial of the claim of the Iroquois to rule his people, was seized upon, by some of the war-party, as a pretext for leaving the Muskingum, where White-Eyes lived, and withdrawing toward Lake Erie, into the more immediate vicinity of the English and their allies.
The Shawanese and their neighbours, meantime, had taken counsel with Guy Johnson at Oswego,* and might be considered as in league with the king. Indeed, we can neither wonder at, nor blame these bewildered savages for leaguing themselves with any power against those actual occupants of their hunting-grounds, who were, here and there in Kentucky, building block-houses and clearing corn-fields. Against those block-houses and their builders, little bands of red men continually kept sallying forth, supplied with ammunition from Detroit and the other western posts, and incited to exertion by the well-known stimulants of whiskey and fine clothes.t
However, it is hardly correct to say, that this was done in 1775, though the arrangements were, beyond doubt, made in that year ; Colonel Johnson having visited Montreal, immediately after the council with the Shawanese and others at Oswego, for the purpose of concluding with the British governor and general upon his future course.
During 1775, therefore, there was no border war, if we except the small predatory incursions into Kentucky. In the South all remained quiet ; in the West there were doubt and uneasiness, without action ; in the North, a distinct siding with the King by the great part of the Indians, though no warfare.
But the next year found the mass of the red men openly in arms against the colonies. Brant, who had gone to Canada in the pacific guise of Colonel Johnson's secretary, in 1776 appeared at the head of the most numerous tribes of the Iroquois, threatening, with all the horrors of Indian warfare, the valley of the Mohawk. † His preparation for this service was of a curious nature, being nothing less than a visit to London, where for a time he was the lion of the city,
and particularly patronized by Boswell, for whom he had his portrait taken. Returning thence in time to be present at, and share in, the battle of the Cedars in May, he, for unknown reasons, suffered the summer and autumn to pass without taking any decisive step ; keeping the poor women and children of Cherry Valley and the neighbouring settlements in a state of continual anxiety to no purpose.
In the West, however, there was more of movement. Traders were stripped, men slain, and stations attacked. The Shawanese and the Wyandots were both at war for England ; and great efforts were made to involve the Delawares. *
But it was in the South, that the border wars of our Revolution first broke out in all their strength and horror. Upon the 30th of July, Congress was informed, that the Cherokees had commenced hostilities; and from that time, or rather from the 15th of that month, when the war began, until the middle of October, the forces of the Carolinas, Georgia, and Virginia, were engaged in one of those protracted contests which have ever marked the struggles of the whites and southern Indians. But at length Colonel Andrew Williamson, who commanded the South Carolina forces, carried his arms into the interior of the Cherokee country, destroyed their villages, and brought them to terms. Of the details of this war we know very little. The causes of it, the means by which the Indians were induced to rise, and all the after-steps, have been but very imperfectly exhibited, as yet, by any writer. We trust, however, that some one, with the industry and perseverance of Mr. Stone, may be led to turn his attention that way, and compile the Annals, if not the History, of that time in the South.
The year 1776 might be said, then, to have passed without any serious injury to the colonists from the various tribes, although it was clear, that those tribes were to be looked on as engaged in the war, and that the majority of them were with the mother country. Through the West and Northwest, where the agents of England could act to the greatest advantage, dissatisfaction spread rapidly. The nations, nearest the Americans, found themselves pressed upon and harassed by the more distant bands, and, through the whole winter of 1776–7, rumors were flying along the frontiers of Virginia and Pennsylvania, of coming troubles. Nor were the good people of New York less disturbed in their minds, the settlers upon the Mohawk and upper Susquehanna standing in continual dread of incursion.* No incursion, however, took place during the winter or spring of 1777 ; though why the blow was delayed is what we cannot well know, until Great Britain has magnanimity enough to unveil her past acts, and, acknowledging her follies and sins, to show the world the various steps to that union of the savages against her foes, which her noble Chatham denounced as a " disgrace,” and " deep and deadly sin."
* Heckewelder and Butler.
t Holmes Annals, Vol. II. p. 258. - Journals of the Old Congress. — Ramsay, &c.- Washington (Sparks's Ed. Vol. III. p. 210) refers to evidences of efforts on the part of Britain to engage the southern savages in 1775.
That blow was delayed, however; and, alas ! was struck, at length, after, and as if in retaliation for, one of those violent acts of wrong, which must ever be expected from a frontier people. We refer to the murder of Cornstalk, the leading chieftain of the Scioto Shawanese ; a man, whose energy, courage, and good sense, place him among the very foremost of the native heroes of this land. This truly great man, who was himself for peace, but who found all his neighbours, and even those of his own tribe, stirred up to war by the agents of England, went over to the American fort at Point Pleasant, at the mouth of the Great Kenhawa, in order to talk the matter over with Captain Arbuckle, who commanded there, and with whom he was acquainted. This was early in the summer of 1777. The Americans, knowing the Shawanese to be inclining to the enemy, thought it would be a good plan to retain Cornstalk and Redhawk, a younger chief of note, who was with him, and make them hostages for the good conduct of their people. The old warrior, accordingly, after he had finished his statement of the position he was in, and the necessity under which he and his friends would be of "going with the stream,” unless the LongKnives could protect them, found, that, in seeking counsel and safety, he had walked into a trap, and was fast there. However, he folded his arms, and, with Indian calmness, waited the issue. The day went by. The next morning came, and from the opposite shore was heard an Indian hail, * Journals of the Old Congress. — Stone, &c. + See Stone, Vol. I. p. 191. – Doddridge's Indian Wars, &c.