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قراءة كتاب Great Indian Chief of the West; Or, Life and Adventures of Black Hawk

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Great Indian Chief of the West; Or, Life and Adventures of Black Hawk

Great Indian Chief of the West; Or, Life and Adventures of Black Hawk

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
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gate, they would have escaped; but the greater part of them took the road that led to the upper gate, through the very ranks of the enemy, and were thus exposed to the whole of their fire. About twenty persons, it is computed, met their death in endeavoring to get within the entrenchments. None of those within were injured, and none of the Indians were killed, at least none of them were found. Their object was not plunder, for they did not attempt, in their retreat, to take away with them any of the cattle or the horses that were in the prairie, and that they might have taken; nor did they attack any of the neighboring towns, where danger would have been less, and the prospect of success greater. The only object they had in view was the destruction of St. Louis; and this would seem to favor the idea that they were instigated by the English, and gives good ground, when connected with other circumstances, to believe that Leyba was their aider and abettor.     *     *     *     *

"A Mr. Chancellier had gone on the day of attack, to the prairie for strawberries, with his wife, two daughters and an American, the first that had ever been in the country, in a cart drawn by two horses. When they perceived the Indians, they immediately fled towards the town in the cart; Mr. Chancellier being seated before, and the American behind, in order to protect the women, who were in the middle. In their flight the American was mortally wounded. As he was falling out, Mr. Chancellier seized him and threw him into the midst of the women, exclaiming, "they shan't get the scalp of my American." He was at the same time struck by two balls, which broke his arm in as many places, above the elbow. His wife received a bullet through the middle of her hand, the elder daughter was shot through the shoulder, immediately above the breast, and the younger was struck on the forehead, but the ball glanced aside and merely stunned her. The moment Mr. Chancellier arrived at the gate, his horses dropped dead, pierced with a hundred wounds, but his family was saved."

Mr. Primm, the writer of this interesting narrative, has probably not been fully informed in regard to the extent of Colonel George Rogers Clark's participation in this affair. In a written memorandum now before us, made on the authority of his brother, General William Clark of St. Louis, who it is presumed has possession of his father's official papers, it is stated, in reference to this affair, that although the Spanish Governor could not be made to believe that an attack was intended, the principal inhabitants sent over an express to Colonel Clark, who was then at Kaskaskia with five hundred men, to come and protect them. He accordingly marched his force up opposite the town and encamped a little distance from the river. He did not send over any troops, but was to do so, in case of an attack; when it was actually made Colonel Clark crossed the river; and upon seeing the "long knives," as the Indians called his troops, they hastily retreated, having killed seventy-two or seventy-three of the Spaniards, before his arrival. This sudden appearance of Colonel Clark, upon the scene of action, explains the conduct of the Indians. So large a body of warriors, making a preconcerted attack, upon a town but badly protected, would not, it is thought, have given up the assault so suddenly and before they had lost a single man, unless alarmed by the presence of a superior force. On the supposition that Colonel Clark actually crossed the river with his troops, the flight of the Indians is easily explained. They were probably apprised of Colonel Clark's being at Kaskaskia, and his name was every where a terror to the Indians. As an evidence of this, a short time afterwards, he sent a detachment of one hundred and fifty men, as far up the country as Prairie des Chiens, and from thence across Rock and Illinois rivers and down to Kaskaskia, meeting with no molestation from the Indians, who were struck with terror at the boldness of the enterprise, saying that if so few dared to come, they "would fight like devils."

General William H. Harrison, long familiar with the North West Indians, in an official letter to the secretary at War, dated H.Q. Cincinnati, March 22d, 1814, giving an able view of the Indian tribes, makes the following remarks on the descent of this northern confederacy, upon the great Illini nation.

"The Miamies have their principal settlements on the forks of the Wabash, thirty miles from fort Wayne; and at Mississineway, thirty miles lower down. A band of them, under the name of Weas, have resided on the Wabash, sixty miles above Vincennes; and another under the Turtle, on Eel river, a branch of the Wabash, twenty miles north west of Fort Wayne. By an artifice of the Little Turtle, these three bands were passed on General Wayne as distinct tribes, and an annuity was granted to each. The Eel river and Weas however to this day call themselves Miamies, and are recognized as such by the Mississineway band. The Miamies, Maumees, or Tewicktovies are the undoubted proprietors of all that beautiful country which is watered by the Wabash and its branches; and there is as little doubt, that their claim extended as far east as the Sciota. They have no tradition of removing from any other quarter of the country; whereas all the neighboring tribes, the Piankeshaws excepted, who are a branch of the Miamies, are either intruders upon them, or have been permitted to settle in their country. The Wyandots emigrated first from Lake Ontario and subsequently from lake Huron, the Delawares from Pennsylvania and Maryland, the Shawanies from Georgia, the Kickapoos and Pottawatamies from the country between lake Michigan and the Mississippi, and the Ottawas and Chippeways, from the peninsula formed by lakes Michigan, Huron and St. Clair, and the strait connecting the latter with Erie. The claims of the Miamies were bounded on the north and west by those of the Illinois confederacy, consisting originally of five tribes, called Kaskaskias, Cahokias, Peorians, Michiganians, and Temorias speaking the Miami language, and no doubt branches of that nation.

"When I was first appointed governor of Indiana Territory, these once powerful tribes were reduced to about thirty warriors, of whom twenty five were Kaskaskias, four Peorians, and a single Michiganian. There was an individual lately alive at St. Louis, who saw the enumeration of them made by the Jesuits in 1745, making the number of their warriors four thousand. A furious war between them and the Sacs and Kickapoos reduced them to that miserable remnant, which had taken refuge amongst the white people of Kaskaskia and St. Genevieve. The Kickapoos had fixed their principal village at Peoria, upon the south bank of the Illinois river, whilst the Sacks remained masters of the country to the north."

These historical facts are interesting, as showing the manner in which the Sauks and Foxes obtained possession of the fertile plains of Illinois; and, as adding another to the many instances on record, in which hordes of northern invaders have overrun and subjugated the people of more southern regions. The causes are obvious for this descent of the Sauks and Foxes, upon their southern neighbors. They reached a more genial climate, a country where game was more abundant than in the region they left behind, and in which they could, with greater facility, raise their corn, beans and pumpkins. Other causes than these might have had their influence. The Illini confederacy may have provoked the descent of the northern tribes upon them. On this point, Lieutenant Pike in his travels to the sources of the Mississippi, has the following remark.

"By killing the celebrated Sauk chief, Pontiac, the Illinois, Cahokias, Kaskaskias and Peorias, kindled

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