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have foreboded and deprecated as the catastrophe of our political drama o We have conquered Louisiana by our money; we aspire to the
ssession of Canada; we intend to occupy the poon". have relinquished our system of philanthropy towards the Indians—we are extinguishing Indian claims in Indian blood. The Indian tribes are no longer our fellow-citizens and red brethren, but wretches to be hated, barbarians to be exterminated. All external pressure binding us into union is to be removed. All cause of external alarm and apprehension is to be put at rest. A careless and indolent security will ensue, or what is worse, a restless
ambition and turbulent arrogance will seek new gratifications, interfere with the concerns of other nations, meditate further conquests, and the fatal result will be, that this fortunate and homogeneous composition of pure and simple republics, will be a vast empire made up of various foreign states, with discordant institutions, and the conflicting prejudices and passions of irreconcilable interests, which can only be constrained into union, and subdued into tranquillity by the energy and power of a single despot—the chief of a mighty army, the oppressor of a once free and virtuous people.
TECUMSEII, one of the most remarkable warriors and orators of the aboriginal tribes of America, was born on the Scioto river, in Ohio, about the year 1770. He was the son of a Shawanee warrior. At an early period of his life he seems to have commenced his savage operations against the whites. His first exploit of which there is any record, was performed near Hacker's creek, in the month of May, 1792, when, with a small band of warriors, he surprised the family of John Waggoner, and carried them into captivity. After this he was engaged in various incursions upon the settlements of the whites, and often intercepted the boats as they passed and repassed on the Ohio river. It is said that, in 1806, he and his brother the Prophet formed a plan of uniting all the western tribes of Indians, in opposition to the Americans, and previous to the war of 1812, he visited all the southern tribes, for the same purpose. Wherever he went he called councils of their tribes, and, with a bold and commanding eloquence, exhausted every topic calculated to operate on their minds, and alienate their affections. His speeches had a powerful influence amongst all those nations, with the Creeks particularly, although the more considerate rejected his interference. In the course of his harangues, he was accustomed to reproach them with their civilization; and, in the keenest and most sarcastic manner, contrasted their degenerate effeminacy with every thing that was great and noble in the estimation of the Indians. Against the United States he pronounced the most furious abuse, and by every method endeavored to establish in the minds of his hearers a belief that the humane system for their improvement, which had been established by the Americans, was but a plan to deprive them of “the homes of their fathers.”
Among the many strange, and some strongly characteristic events in his life, the council which General Harrison held with the Indians at Vincennes, in 1811, affords an admirable instance of the sublimity which sometimes distinguished his eloquence. The chiefs of some tribes had come to complain of a purchase of lands which had been made from the Shawanees and other tribes. (This council effected nothing, but broke up in confusion, in consequence of Tecumseh having called General Harrison “a liar.") It was in the progress of the long talks that took place in the conference, that Tecumseh, having finished one of his speeches, looked round, and seeing every one seated, while no seat was prepared for him, a momentary frown passed over his countenance. Instantly, General Harrison ordered that a chair should be given him. Some person presented one, and bowing, said to him, “Warrior, your father, General Harrison, offers you a seat.” Tecumseh's dark eye flashed: “My father!” he exclaimed, indignantly extending his arm towards the heavens; “the sun is my father, and the earth is my mother; she gives me nourishment, and I repose upon her bosom.” As he ended, he sat down suddenly on the ground.
In the late war between the United States and Great Britain, Tecumseh was an ally of the British, and held the rank of brigadier-general. He distinguished himself at the battle of Brownstown, on the fifth of August, 1812, and a few days after led his Indians with great bravery in the conflict between the English forces and the Americans under General Miller. He was killed at the battle of the Thames, on the fifth of October, after making a most desperate “and, in conjunction with the British under General Proctor, against the American troops
to e command of General Harrison.
cast in a different state of society, he would have shone as one of the most distinguished of men. He was endowed with a powerful mind, with the soul of a hero. There was an uncommon dignity in his countenance and manners; by the former he was easily discovered after death, among the rest of the slain, for he wore no insignia of distinction. When girded with a silk sash, and told by General Proctor that he was made a brigadier in the British service, for his conduct at Brownstown and Magagua, he returned the present with respectful contempt. Born with no title to command but his native greatness, every tribe yielded submission to him at once, and no one ever disputed his precedence. Subtle and firm in war, he was possessed of uncommon eloquence; his speeches might bear a comparison with those of the most celebrated orators of Greece or Rome. His invective was terrible, as may be seen in the reproaches which he applied to General Proctor, a few days previous to his death. His form was uncommonly elegant; his stature about six feet, and his limbs were perfectly proportioned. He was honorably interred by the Americans, who respected him, as an inveterate, but a magnanimous enemy. He left a son, who, when his father fell, was about seventeen years of age, and who fought by his side. To this son, the King of England, in 1814, sent a present of a handsome sword, as a mark of respect for the memory of his father.”
SPEECH AT WINCENNES.
In 1809 Governor Harrison purchased of the Delawares and other tribes of Indians, a large tract of country on both sides of the Wabash, and extending up the river sixty miles above Vincennes. Tecumseh was absent during the time of the negotiation, and at his return expressed great dissatisfaction with the sale. On the twelfth of August of the next year (1810) he met the governor in council at Vincennes, when he addressed him as follows: t
It is true I am a Shawanee. My forefathers were warriors. Their son is a warrior. From them I only take my existence; from my tribe I take nothing. I am the maker of my own fortune; and oh! that I could make that of my red people, and of my country, as great as the conceptions of my mind, when I think of the Spirit that rules the universe. I would not then come to Governor Harrison, to ask him to tear the treaty and to obliterate the landmark; but I would say to him, sir, you have liberty to return to your own country. The being within, communing with past ages, tells me that once, nor until lately, there was no white man on this continent. That it then all belonged to red men, children of the same parents, placed on it by the Great Spirit that made them, to keep it, to traverse it, to enjoy its productions, and to fill it with the same race. Once a happy race. Since made miserable by the white people, who are never contented, but al
ways encroaching. The way, and the only way
Having thus explained his reasons against the validity of the purchase, Tecumseh took his seat amidst his warriors.
*Biography and History of the Indians of North America, by Samuel G. Drake: National Intelligencer, 1813: Memoirs of Harrison; and the New York Gazette, 1818.
+ Drake's Biography and History of the Indians of North America.
*Mr. Drake, the author from whom this speech is taken, expresses some doubts of the correctness of this version of it; but adds: “nevertheless it may give the true meaning. One important paragraph ought to be added, which was, ‘that the Americans had driven them from the sea-coast, and that they would shortly push them into the lakes, and that they were determined to make a stand where they were."”
SPEECH TO GENERAL PROCTOR.
The following speech, “In the name of the Indian chiefs and warriors to Major General Proctor, as the representative of their Great Father—the King,” is supposed to have been delivered a short time prior to the battle of the Thames, on the fifth of October, 1813.”
FATHER, listen to your children you have them now all before you. The war before this our British father gave the hatchet to his red children, when old chiefs were alive. They are now dead. In that war our father was thrown on his back by the Americans, and our father took them by the hand without our knowledge; and we are afraid that our father will do so again at this time. Summer before last, when I came forward with my red brethren, and was ready to take up the hatchet, in favor of our British father, we were told not to be in a hurry, that he had not yet determined to fight the Americans. Listen / When war was declared, our father stood up and gave us the tomahawk, and told us that he was ready to strike the Americans; that he wanted our assistance, and that he would certainly get us our lands back, which the Americans had taken from us. Listen / You told us, at that time, to bring forward our families to this place, and we did so:—and you promised to take care of them, and that they should want for nothing, while the men would go and fight the enemy. That we need not trouble ourselves about the enemy's garrisons; that we knew nothing about them, and that our father would attend to that part of the business. You also told your red children,
* This speech was published in the National Intelligencer in 1813, with the subjoined introduction:
“The gentleman to whom we are indebted for the following speech, informs us it was found among General Proctor's papers after his flight. It is undoubtedly genuine. Its truth makes it severe; its language gives force and point to the truth.”
that you would take good care of your garrison here, which made our hearts glad. Listen / When we were last at the Rapids, it is true we gave you little assistance. It is hard to fight people who live like ground-hogs. Father, listen / Our fleet has gone out; we know they have fought: we have heard the great guns: but know nothing of what has happened to our father with one arm. Our ships have gone one way, and we are much astonished to see our father tying up every thing and preparing to run away the other, without letting his red children know what his intentions are. You always told us to remain here and take care of our lands. It made our hearts glad to hear that was your wish. Our great father, the King, is the head, and you represent him. You always told us that you would never draw your foot off British ground; but now, father, we see you are drawing back, and we are sorry to see our father doing so without seeing the enemy. We must compare our father's conduct to a fat animal that carries its tail upon its back, but when affrighted, it drops it between its legs and runs off. Listen, Father / The Americans have not yet defeated us by land; neither are we sure that they have done so by water—we therefore wish to remain here and fight our enemy, should they make their appearance. If they defeat us, we will then retreat with our father. At the battle of the Rapids, last war, the Americans certainly defeated us; and when we retreated to our father's fort in that place, the gates were shut against us—We were afraid that it would now be the case, but instead of that, we now see our British father preparing to march out of his garrison. Father / You have got the arms and ammunition which our great father sent for his red children. If you have an idea of going away, give them to us, and you may go and welcome, for us. Our lives are in the hands of the Great Spirit. We are determined to defend our lands, and if it is his will, we wish to leave our bones upon them.