Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

voice. These beads (holding up a bundle of white strands) are a road between us. Take

you hold at one end, I will at the other, and hold it fast. I will visit this road every day, and sweep it clean. If any blood be on it, I will cover it up; if stumps, I will cut them out. Should your children and mine meet in this road they shall shake hands and be good friends. Some of the Indians who belong to the English will be trying to sow harm between us, but we must be on our guard and prevent it.

Father, I love the land on which I was born, the trees which cover it, and the grass growing on it. It feeds us well. I am not come here to ask gifts. I am young, and by hunting on my own land, can kill what I want and feed my women and children in plenty. I come not to beg. But if any of your traders would wish to come among us, let them come. For who will hurt them ? Nobody, I will be there before them.

Father, I take you by the hand with all my heart. I will never forget you ; do not you forget me.

[Here he delivered the bundle of white strands.]

The Little Beaver, a Wyattanon, on the behalf of Crooked-Legs, handed round the pipe, and then spoke.

Father,—Listen now to me as you have done to others. I am not a very great chief ; I am a chief of war, and leader of the young people.

Father,—I wished much to hear you; you have spoken comfort to us, and I am happy to have heard it. The sun has shone out, and all is well. This makes us think it was the Great Spirit speaking truth through you. Do then what you have said, restrain your people if they do wrong, as we will ours if they do wrong.

Father,– We gave to our friend (Prior) who came with us, our name of Wyattanon, and he gave us his name of American. We are now Americans, give him then unto us as a father. He has loved us and taken care of us. He had pity on our women and children, and fed them. Do not forget to grant us this request. You told us to live in quiet, and to do right. We will do what you desire, and let Prior come to us.

Now that we have come so far to hear you, write a line to your people to keep the river open between us, that we may go down in safety, and that our women and children may work in peace. When I go back, I will bear to them good tidings, and our young men will no longer hunt in fear for the support of our women and children.

Father,—All of us who have heard you are made happy, all are in the same sentiment with me, all are satisfied. Be assured that, when we return, the Indians and Americans will be one people, will hunt, and play, and laugh together. For me, I never will depart one step from Prior. We are come from afar to make a stable peace, to look forward to our future good. Do not refuse what we solicit, we will never forget you.

Here I will cease. The father of life might otherwise think I babbled too much, and so might you. I finish then, in giving you this pipe. It is my own, and from myself alone. I am but a warrior. I give it to you to smoke in. Let its fumes ascend to the Great Spirit in heaven.

[He delivered the pipe to the President.]
The wife of the soldier, a Wyattanon, speaks:

Father, I take you by the hand with all my heart because you have spoken comfort to us. I am but a woman, yet you must listen.

The village chiefs, and chiefs of war, have opened their bodies and laid naked their hearts to you. Let them too see your heart and listen to them.

We have come, men and women, from afar to beseech you to let no one take our lands. That is one of our children, [pointing to General Putnam.] It was he who persuaded us to come. We thought he spoke the truth, we came, and we hope that good will come of it.

Father,- We know you are strong, have pity on us. Be firm in your words. They have given us courage. The father of life has opened our hearts on both sides for good.

He who was to have spoken to you is dead, Great Joseph. If he had lived you would have heard a good man, and good words flowing from his mouth. He was my uncle, and it has fallen to

me to speak for him. But I am ignorant. Excuse, then, these words, it is but a woman who speaks.

[She delivers white strands.] Three-Legs, a Piankeshaw spoke.

I speak for a young chief whom I have lost here. He came to speak to you, father, but he had not that happiness. He died. I am not a village chief, but only a chief of war.

We are come to seek all our good, and to be firm in it. If our father is firm, we will be so. It was a dark and gloomy day in which I lost my young chief. The master of life saw that he was good, and called him to himself. We must submit to his will. (He gave a black strand.] I pray you all who are present to say, as one man, that our peace is firm, and to let it be firm. Listen to us if you love us.

We live on the river on one side, and shall be happy to see Captain Prior on the other, and to have a lasting peace. Here is our father Putnam. He heard me speak at Au Porte. If I am false let him say so.

My land is but small. If any more be taken from us, I will come again to you and complain, for we shall not be able to live. Have pity on us father. You have many red children there, and they have little whereon to live. Leave them land enough to labor, to hunt, and to live on, and the lands which we have given to the French, let them be to them forever.

Father,- We are very poor, we have traders among us, but they will sell too dear. We have not the means of supplying our wants at such prices. Encourage your traders then to come, and to bring us guns, powder, and other necessaries, and send Captain Prior also to us.

[He gave a string of white beads.] De Coigne spoke : Jefferson, I have seen you before, and we have spoken togeth

Sinclair, we have opened our hearts to one another. Putnam, we did the same at Au Porte.

Father, -You have heard these three speak of me, and you know my character. The times are gloomy in my town. We have no commander, no soldier, no priest. Have you no concern for us, father? If you have, put a magistrate with us to keep the peace. I cannot live so. I am of French blood. When

[ocr errors]

er.

there are no priests among us we think that all is not well. When I was small we had priests, now that I am old we have none; am I to forget, then, how to pray? Have pity on me and grant what I ask. I have spoken on your behalf to all the nations. I am a friend to all, and hurt none. For what are we on this earth? But as a small and tender plant of corn ; even as nothing. God has made this earth for you as well as for us ; we are then but as one family, and if any one strikes you, it is as if he had struck us. If any nation strikes you, father, we will let you know what nation it is.

Father,--We fear the Kentuckians. They are headstrong, and do us great wrong. They are not content to come on our lands, to hunt on them, to steal and destroy our stocks, as the Shawanese and Delawares do, but they go further, and abuse our persons. Forbid them to do so. Sinclair, you know that the Shawanese and Delawares came from the Spanish side of the river, destroyed our corn, and killed our cattle. We cannot live if things go so.

Father,—You are rich, you have all things at command, you want for nothing, you promised to wipe away our tears. I commend our women and children to your care.

[He gave strands of white beads.]

The President then assured them that he would take in consideration what they had said, and would give them an answer on another day; whereupon the conference ended for the present.

III.

January 7, 1802. Brothers and friends of the Miamis, Powtewatamies, and Wee

auks :

I receive with great satisfaction the visit you have been so kind as to make us at this place, and I thank the Great Spirit who has conducted you to us in health and safety. It is well that friends should sometimes meet, open their minds mutually, and renew the chain of affection. Made by the same Great Spirit,

and living in the same land with our brothers, the red men, we consider ourselves as of the same family; we wish to live with them as one people, and to cherish their interests as our own. The evils which of necessity encompass the life of man are sufficiently numerous. Why should we add to them by voluntarily distressing and destroying one another? Peace, brothers, is better than war. In a long and bloodly war, we lose many friends, and gain nothing. Let us then live in peace and friendship together, doing to each other all the good we can. The wise and good on both sides desire this, and we must take care that the foolish and wicked among us shall not prevent it. On our part, we shall endeavor in all things to be just and generous towards you, and to aid you in meeting those difficulties which a change of circumstances is bringing on. We shall, with great pleasure, see your people become disposed to cultivate the earth, to raise herds of the useful animals, and to spin and weave, for their food and clothing. These resources are certain; they will never disappoint you: while those of hunting may fail, and expose your women and children to the miseries of hunger and cold. We will with pleasure furnish you with implements for the most necessary arts, and with persons who may instruct you how to make and use them.

I consider it as fortunate that you have made your visit at this time, when our wise men from the sixteen States are collected together in council, who being equally disposed to befriend you, can strengthen our hands in the good we all wish to render you.

The several matters you opened to us in your speech the other day, and those on which you have since conversed with the Secretary of War, have been duly considered by us. He will now deliver answers, and you are to consider what he says, as if said by myself, and that what we promise we shall faithfully perform.

« ZurückWeiter »