페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

as heardered

the fier setikaiching more o n the

straight, for there were counter-claims by the soldiers who had enlisted, in 1754, under Dinwiddie's proclamation ; and on all hands there were preparations for movement. But, even at that moment, there existed through the whole West a conspiracy or agreement among the Indians, from Lake Michigan to the frontiers of North Carolina, by which they were with one accord, with one spirit, to fall upon the whole line of British posts and strike every white man dead. Chippeways, Ottawas, Wyandots, Miamis, Sbawanese, Delawares, and Mingoes for the time laid by their old hostile feelings, and united under Pontiac in this great enterprise. The voice of that sagacious and noble man was heard in the distant north, crying, “Why, says the Great Spirit, do you suffer these dogs in red clothing to enter your country and take the land I have given you ? Drive them from it! Drive them! When you are in distress, I will help you.”

That voice was heard, but not by the whites. The unsuspecting traders journeyed from village to village ; the soldiers in the forts shrunk from the sun of the early summer, and dozed away the day ; the frontier settler, singing in fancied security, sowed his crop, or, watching the sunset through the girdled trees, mused upon one more peaceful harvest, and told his children of the horrors of the ten years' war, now, — thank God! over. From the Alleghanies to the Mississippi the trees had leaved, and all was calm life and joy. But through that great country, even then, bands of sullen red men were journeying from the central valleys to the lakes of the Eastern hills. Bands of Chippeways gathered about Missilimacanac. Ottawas filled the woods near Detroit. The Maumee post, Presqu'Ile, Niagara, Pitt, Ligonier, and every English fort was hemmed in by mingled tribes, who felt that the great battle drew nigh which was to determine their fate and the possession of their noble lands. * At last the day came. The traders everywhere were seized, their goods. taken from them, and more than one hundred of them put to death. Nine British forts yielded instantly, and the savages drank, “scooped up in the hollow of joined hands,” the blood of many a Briton. The border streams of Pennsylvania and Virginia ran red again. "We hear,” says a letter from Fort Pitt, “ of scalping every hour.” In Western Virginia, more than twenty thousand * See Henry's Narrative. - Thatcher's Indian Biography, Vol. II. p. 83.

aried security.be girdled the children of the From the all was cied through and told_.thank Godes had leave country, me the

people were driven from their homes. Detroit was besieged by Pontiac himself, after a vain attempt to take it by stratagem; and for many months that siege was continued in a manner, and with a perseverance, unexampled among the Indians. Even a regular commissariat department was organized, and bills of credit issued. It was the 8th of May when Detroit was first attacked, and upon the 3d of the following December it was still in danger. As late as March of the next year, the inhabitants were “ sleeping in their clothes, expecting an alarm every night.” *

Fort Pitt was besieged also, and the garrison reduced to sad straits from want of food. This being known beyond the mountains, a quantity of provision was collected, and Colonel Bouquet was appointed to convey it to the head of the Ohio, having assigned him for the service the poor remains of two regiinents, which had but lately returned from the war in Cuba. He set out toward the middle of July, and upon the 25th reached Bedford. From that post, he went forward by Forbes's road, passed Fort Ligonier, and upon the 5th of August was near Bushy Run, one of the branches of Turtle Creek, which falls into the Monongahela ten miles above Fort Pitt. Here he was attacked by the Indians, who, hearing of his approach, had gathered their forces to defeat him, and during two days the contest continued. On the 6th, the Indians, having the worst of the battle, retreated ; and Bouquet, with his three hundred and forty horses, loaded with flour, reached and relieved the post at the Fork. t

It was now nearly autumn, and the confederated tribes had failed to take the three most important fortresses in the West, Detroit, Pitt, and Niagara. Many of them became disheartened ; others wished to return home for the winter ; others had satisfied their longing for revenge. United merely by the hope of striking and immediate success, they fell from one another when that success did not come ; jealousies and old enmities came in ; the league was broken ; and Pontiac was left alone or with few followers.

In October, also, a step was taken by the British government, in part, for the purpose of quieting the fears and suspicions of the red men, which did much, probably, toward

* See Henry's Narrative. - Thatcher's Indian Biography, Vol. II. p. 83.

† Holmes's Annals, Vol. II. p. 121. - Sparks's Washington, Vol. II, Map, at p. 38.

destroying their alliance. A proclamation was issued, forbidding the grant, by any governor, of Western lands, and the purchase or settlement of those lands by individuals. * To assist the effect of this proclamation, it was determined to make two movements in the spring and summer of 1764 ; General Bradstreet being ordered into the country upon Lake Erie, and Bouquet into that upon the Ohio. The former moved to Niagara early in the summer, and there held a grand council with twenty or more tribes, all of whom sued for peace; and, upon the 8th of August, the army reached Detroit. † Bouquet, meanwhile, collected troops at Fort Pitt, and in the autumn marched across from Big Beaver to the upper Muskingum, and thence to the point where the White Woman's river comes into the main stream. There, upon the 9th of November, he concluded a peace with the Delawares and Shawanese, and received from them two hundred and six prisoners, eighty-one men and one hundred and twenty-five women and children. He also received, from the Shawanese, hostages for the delivery of some captives, who could not be brought to the Muskingum at that time. These hostages escaped, but the savages were of good faith, and, upon the 9th of May, 1765, the remaining whites were given up to George Croghan, the deputy of Sir William Johnson, at Fort Pitt. Many anecdotes are related in the account of the delivery of the captives to Bouquet, going to show that strong attachments had been formed between them and their captors; and West's pencil has illustrated the scene of their delivery. But we have little faith in the representations of either writer or painter. I

Pontiac, the leading spirit in the past struggle, finding his attempts to save his country and his race at that time hopeless, left his tribe and went into the West, and for some years after was living among the Illinois, attempting, but in vain, to bring about a new union and new war. He was in the end killed by a Peoria Indian. So far as we can form a judg

* Land Lars, p. 84. - Sparks's Franklin, Vol. IV. p. 374. + Henry's Narrative. Henry was with Bradstreet.

I "An Historical Account of the Expedition against the Ohio Indians in the year 1764, under the Command of Henry Bouquet, Esquire, &c. Published from Authentic Documents, by a Lover of his Country. London, 1766." This volume was first printed in Philadelphia. It was erroneously referred to by us (North American Review, Vol. XLVII., p. 14), as by Bou

quet.

VOL. XLIX. — No, 104.

[ocr errors]

ment of this chieftain, he was, in point of talent, nobleness of spirit, honor, and devotion, the superior of any red man of whom we have any account. His plan of extermination was most masterly ; his execution of it equal to its conception. But for the treachery of one of his followers, he would have taken Detroit early in May. His whole force might then have been directed in one mass, first upon Niagara, and then upon Pitt, and in all probability both posts would have fallen. * Even disappointed as he was at Detroit, had the Six Nations, with their dependent allies, the Delawares and Shawanese, been true to him, the British might have been long kept beyond the mountains ; but the Iroquois, — close upon the colonies, old allies of England, and under the influence of Sir William Johnson as they were, and disposed, as they ever proved themselves, to claim and sell, but not to defend the West, — were for peace after the King's proclamation. Indeed, the Mohawks and leading tribes were from the first with the British ; so that, after the success of Bradstreet and Bouquet, there was no difficulty in concluding a treaty with all the Western Indians ; and late in April, 1765, Sir Williain Johnson, at the German Flats, held a conference with the various nations, and settled a definite peace. † At this meeting two propositions were made ; the one to fix some boundary line, west of which the Europeans should not go; and the savages named, as this line, the Ohio or Alleghany and Susquehannah; but no definite agreement was made, Johnson not being empowered to act. The other proposal was, that the Indians should grant to the traders, who had suffered in 1763, a tract of land in compensation for the injuries then done them, and to this the red men agreed. I

With the returning deputies of the Shawanese and Delawares, George Croghan, Sir William Johnson's sub-commissioner, went to the West for the purpose of visiting the more distant tribes, and securing, so far as it could be done, the allegiance of the French who were scattered through the western valleys, and who were stirring up the savages to warfare, as it was believed. The Journal of his voyage may be found in the Appendix to Butler's “ History of Kentucky's (2d edition), together with his estimate of the number of In

* Thatcher's Indian Biography, Vol. II. Our knowledge of Pontiac and his war is very limited. We hope something more may come to light yet. + Plain Facts, p. 60.

Ibid. — Butler's History of Kentucky. 2d Ed. p. 479, et seq.

dians in the West ; a very curious and valuable table, though, of course, vague and inaccurate.

So stood matters in the West during this year, 1765. All beyond the Alleghanies, with the exception of a few forts, was a wilderness until the Wabash was reached, where dwelt a few miserable French, with some fellow-vagabonds * not far from them upon the Illinois and Kaskaskia. The Indians, a few years since undisputed owners of the prairies and broad vales, now held them by sufferance, having been twice conquered by the arms of England. They, of course, felt both hatred and fear; and, while they despaired of saving their lands, and looked forward to unknown evils, the deepest and most abiding spirit of revenge was roused within them, They had seen the British coming to take their huntinggrounds upon the strength of a treaty which they knew not of. They had been forced to admit British troops into their country ; and, though now nominally protected from settlers, that promised protection would be but an incentive to passion, in case it was not in good faith extended to them.

And it was not in good faith extended to them by either individuals or governments. During the very year that succeeded the treaty of German Flats, settlers crossed the mountains and took possession of lands in western Virginia, and along the Monongahela. The Indians, having received no pay for these lands, murmured, and once more a border war was feared. General Gage, commander of the King's forces, was applied to, probably through Sir William Johnson, and issued his orders for the removal of the settlers ; but they defied his commands and his power, and remained where they were.f And not only were frontier men thus passing the line tacitly agreed on, but Sir William himself was even then meditating a step which would have produced, had it been taken, a general Indian war again. This was the purchase and settlement of an immense tract south of the Ohio River, where an independent colony was to be formed. How early this plan was conceived we do not learn, but, from Franklin's letters, we find that it was in contemplation in the spring of 1766. At that time Franklin was in London, and was written to by his son, Governor Franklin of New Jersey, with regard to the proposed colony. The plan seems to have been, to buy

* Croghan's Journal, and those of all travellers of that time, so represent them.

1 Plain Facts, p. 65. Sparks's Franklin, Vol. IV. p. 233, et seq.

« 이전계속 »