« FöregåendeFortsätt »
their backs, followed by a brisk charge, so as not to give them time to load again." These orders were promptly obeyed, and so irresistible was the bayonet charge, that both Indians and Canadians were driven from their position, and completely routed, before either Scott's corps or the second legionary line could get up to take part in the action. The American loss was one hundred and seven, while that of the enemy was far greater; the battle field being strewn with dead bodies, both red and white. “We remained,” says the general in his official report, “three days and three nights on the banks of the Miami, in front of the field of battle, during which time all the houses and corn were consumed or otherwise destroyed, for a considerable distance, both above and below Fort Miami, and we were within pistol-shot of the garrison of that place, who were compelled to remain quiet spectators of this general devastation and conflagration.”
On the 24th of August, 1795, the army began its march for Greenville, and on their way laid waste whole villages and corn-fields for a distance of fifty miles on each side of the river. This service, however unpleasant to the commander, was necessary to bring the Indians completely to their senses, and being prescribed to him as a duty, could not be evaded ; nor were its effects overrated; convinced of the evils of war when brought to their corn-fields and cabins, they sued for peace. It was promptly granted, and on the 1st of January preliminary articles were signed, which, on the 7th of August, were confirmed at Greenville, and faithfully observed until the war of 1812.
Immediately after the action, General Wayne received a note from Major Campbell, the British commandant at Fort Miami, dated August 21st, 1794, in which he observes: “An army of the United States, said to be under your command, having taken post on the banks of the Miami for the last twenty-four hours, almost within reach of the guns of this fort, belonging to his majesty, the King of Great Britain, occupied by his majesty's troops, and which I have the honor to command, it becomes me to inform myself, as speedily as possible, in what light I am to view your making such near approach to the garrison.” To which General Wayne on the same day replied : “Without questioning the authority, or propriety, sir, of your interrogatory, I think I may, without breach of decorum, observe to you that, were you entitled to an answer, the most full and satisfactory one was announced to you from the muzzles of my small arms yesterday morning, in the action against hordes of savages in the vicinity of your fort, which terminated gloriously to the American arms. But had it continued till the Indians, etc., were driven under the influence of the guns you mention, they would not have much impeded the progress of the victorious army under my command—as no such post was established at the commencement of the present war between the Indians and the United States."
The effects of this expedition could not well be overrated. Besides putting an end to the war, brutal as bloody, and waged without respect to
age or sex throughout the whole western frontier, it quieted Indian excite. ment at the north and the south. It opened to a civilized population the fine region which had been the theatre of hostilities. It allayed factious feelings at home, while abroad, it hastened the pending negotiation with Great Britain, by which the American posts, so long and so pertinaciously withheld by the former, were at last given up.
On the 19th of November, 1794, the treaty of amity, commerce, and navigation, between the United States and Great Britain, was signed at London, and received at the office of the secretary of state, in Philadelphia, on the 7th of March, 1795. It was ratified thereafter by the president and Senate, and the hatchet in the Northwestern Territory was temporally buried.
Previous to the peace of 1795, under the auspices of General Wayne “ and his twenty-five hundred commissioners, without a quaker among them," some of the officers and soldiers who had accompanied General Clarke in his expedition to Kaskaskia, returned, and formed what was called the American settlements. They were much annoyed by the Kickapoo and other warriors, during the period of which we have been speaking ; while the French settlements on the Mississippi, owing to their intercourse with, and their control over, the savage hordes which at that time roamed our prairies, escaped unhurt. Soon after the peace above referred to, emigration to some considerable extent took place, and in 1810, soon after the territorial government was formed, the population of Illinois was twelve thousand two hundred and eighty-two. Previous also to that time, and while this State was also a part of the Northwestern Territory, it was divided into two counties, Randolph and St. Clair. (See note 2.)
In 1803, a new territory, (Indiana,) was formed, and William H. Harrison, late President of the United States, was appointed its first governor. It embraced all of the Northwestern Territory, except the present State of Ohio. Illinois was, therefore, a part of the territory of Indiana, until 1809, at which time it was erected into a territory of itself, and on the 3rd of December, 1818, was admitted into the Union, as one of the Uni. ted States of America.
General Wayne, in his letter to Little Turtle, says: “If war be your choice, the blood be upon your own heads. America shall no longer be insulted with impunity. To an all-powerful and just God, I therefore commit myself and my gallant armry." Little Turtle, who had planned and led the attack at the defeat of Harmer, and St. Clair, urged the Indians to embrace the terms. In his appeal to the Miami warriors, when speaking of General Wayne, he says: “We have beaten the enemy twice under separate commanders. We cannot expect the same good fortune to attend us always. The Americans are now led by a chief who never sleeps. The night and the day are alike to him ; and during all the time he has been marching upon our villages, notwithstanding the watchfulness of our young men, we have never been able to surprise him. Think well of it! There is something whispers me, it would be prudent to listen to his offers of peace."
The jurisdiction of the St. Clair county court, extended over all that part of Illinois north of the boundary line, and included the whole of Wisconsin. An action having been brought before a justice of the peace in Cahokia for a cow, and a recovery had for sixteen dollars, the suit was appealed to the county court. The adverse parties, and most of the witnesses lived in Prairie du Chien, (now in Wisconsin,) about four hundred miles distant. The sheriff of St. Clair county having received a summons for the parties, and subpoenas for the witnesses, and being also an Indian trader, fitted out a boat, and having stocked it with goods adapted to the Indian market, proceeded thither with his papers. Having served the summons and subpænæd the witnesses, (including most of the residents of Prairie du Chien,) he made his return, and charging, as he had a right to do, a travel fee for each, his cost, and the costs of the suit altogether, it is said, exceeded nine hundred dollars. We have never heard whether the costs were paid or not.
Strong prejudices have ever since been felt toward large counties in this State. Whether those prejudices have grown out of the circumstances above related, or the cupidity of individuals having village lots to sell at "the county seat," we are as yet unadvised.
Tecumseh-Little Turtle-Tecumseh's hostility to white men-Its cause--Its conse
quence-Count Zwenzendorff, of Saxony-Tecumseh's brother, the Prophet-Tecumseh commences his labors—Visits all the tribes living between the Lakes and Florida -Earthquake of New-Madrid-Its effect on the Indians General Harrison, Gover. nor of Indiana-Tecumseh's brother visits General Harrison at Vincennes personally
-Tecuniseh himself visits General Harrison, and requests that the lands which had been ceded to the Americans, should be given up, alleging that “they belonged to all the tribes, and could not be parted with, except by the consent of all”-Tecumseh visits General Harrison in 1810, accompanied by three hundred warriors-His conversation with the latter-Tecumseh offers to form an alliance with the United States on certain conditions-General Harrison proposes, that in case of war, the cruelties before practiced by the savages be discontinued— Tecumseh assents, and afterward keeps his word-General Harrison desires that the 4th United States regiment, com. manded by Colonel Boyd, be sent to Vincennes-Also, leave to act offensively as soon as he shall become satisfied of Tecumseh's hostile intentions—Both requests granted-Murders in Illinois committed—Governor Edwards—Interview between General Harrison and Tecumseh, on the 27th of July, 1811, at Vincennes—The latter departs for the South Indian warriors assemble at Tippecanoe, and are harangued by the Prophei-Other murders committed-Houses robbed and horses stolen-The Prophet professes pacific intentions—Persons in pursuit of horses stolen fired upon by the Indians—General Harrison marches with a military force toward the Prophet's town, September 5, 1811-His sentinels fired upon-Battle of Tippecanoe, September 7, 1811-Indians defeated-Its effect-Tecumseh returns after the battle-Dis. avows any intention to make war upon the Americans—Afterward joins the British at Malden, in l!pper Canada.
NotWITHSTANDING the treaty of Greenville, made by General Wayne with the. Miamies and other western tribes, in 1795, by which an extensive tract of country, northwest of the Ohio, was ceded to the United States, and notwithstanding other cessions had afterward been made, and considerable portions of each were actually held and occupied by Ameri. can settlers, the idea of making the Ohio river a boundary between the red and white men, was still entertained by a considerable portion of its native population. No one perhaps of their number cherished this idea with greater ardor than Tecumseh.
Little Turtle, the Miami chief, who had fought with great skill and bravery, and obtained several decisive victories, had long cherished simi. lar thoughts. His defeat, however, by General Wayne, (in a battle undertaken against his own convictions,) and the subsequent conduct of the British toward their defeated allies, induced him to renounce the English for ever, and to become an advocate for peace. He had frequently visited Philadelphia and Washington, and becoming satisfied of the inutility
of further attempts to effect an object once dear to his heart, had become the white man's friend, and at the time of which we are about to speak, was comfortably living upon Eel River, in Indiana, about twenty miles from Fort Wayne, in a house erected for him by the American government.*
The idea of making the Ohio a boundary line, was fostered also by the British agents and authorities in Canada. We find, as early as 1804, Colonel McKee, the English agent, using, in conversation with the Indians, notwithstanding England and the United States were at peace, the following language : “My children, your father, King George, loves his red children, and wishes his red children supplied with everything they want. He is not like the Americans, who are continually blinding your eyes, and stopping your ears with good words, that taste sweet as sugar, while they get all your lands from you."
The great principle, in fact, upon which most of the Indian wars during the last ninety years have been predicated, has been the preservation of their lands—more properly speaking, perhaps, their hunting-grounds. On this the French, the English, and the Spanish, have in turn excited them to active resistance against the expanding settlements of the Americans. Hence they became allies of the French, in 1756. After the peace of 1763, the English succeeded the French, and instigated them in a similar manner. Tecumseh however required no such instigation. His hatred toward the whites, was like that of Hannibal to the Romans. From his boyhood to the hour he fell, nobly battling for the rights of his people, he fostered an invincible hatred to white men. On one occasion he was heard to declare, that “ he could not look upon a white man with. out feeling the flesh crawl upon his bones.” This hatred, however, was not confined to the Americans. Circumstances made him the ally of the English, and induced him to fight under their banners; still, he neither loved nor respected them. He understood their policy. He knew their professions were hollow, and that when instigating him and his people to hostilities against the United States, that the agents of Britain had less anxiety for the rights of the Indians, than the injuries which, through their instrumentality, might be inflicted on the American Republic. Tecumseh was a patriot, and his love of country made him a statesman and a war. rior. He saw his race driven from their native land, and scattered - like leaves before the blast. He beheld their morals debased, their indepen. dence destroyed, their means of subsistence cut off. New and strange customs, introduced ruin and desolation around and among them. He looked for the cause of these evils, and believed he had found it in the flood of white emigration, which, having surmounted the towering Alle. ghanies, was spreading itself over their hunting-grounds, and along the banks of the Sciota, the Miami, and the Wabash, whose waters from time
* Little Turtle died at Fort Wayne, on the 14th of July, 1812, and was buried with the honors of war. This was after the battle of Tippecanoe, (which he regretted,) and before the commencement of hostilities between the United States and Great Britain.