Personal Memoirs Of A Residence Of Thirty Years With The Indian Tribes On The American Frontiers
Henry Rowe Schoolcraft
Part 14 out of 15
_place of rocks_.
NYAC.--This appears to be the name of a band of Indians who lived there.
The termination in _ac_, is generally from _acke_, land.
CROTON.--Historically, this is known to have been the name of a noted
Indian chief, who resided near the mouth of the river. The word appears
to be derived from _noetin_, a wind. If we admit the interchange of
sounds of _n_ for _r_, as being made, and the ordinary change of _t_ for
_d_, between the Holland and Indian races, this derivation is probable.
The letter c seems to be the sign of a pronoun.
TAPPAN SEA.--It is perceived from Vanderdonk, and from old maps and
records, that a band of Indians lived here, who were called the
POUGHKEEPSIE is a derivative of _Au-po-keep-sing, i.e._, Place of
shelter. The entrance of the Fall Kill into the Hudson is the
COXACKIE, is evidently made up in the original from _kuk_, to cut, and
_aukie_, earth, which was, probably, in old days, as it is in fact yet,
a graphic description of a ridge cut and tumbled in by the waters of the
Hudson pressing hard on that shore.
CLAVERACK is not Indian. _Clove_, in the Hollandais, is an opening or
side-gorge in the valley. _Rack_, is a reach or bend in the river, the
whole length of which was known, as we see, to the old skippers as
separate _racks_. The _reach of cloves_ began at what is now the city of
Hudson, the old Claverack landing.
TAWASENTHA.--Normanskill is the first Iroquois name noticed. It means
the hill of the dead. Albany itself has taken the name of a Scottish
dukedom for its ancient Iroquois cognomen, Ske-nek-ta-dea: of this
compound term, _Ske_ is a propositional particle, and means beyond;
_nek_ is the Mohawk name for a pine; and the term _ta-dea_ is
descriptive of a valley.
_18th_. Reached Detroit in the steamer "Gen. Wayne," and assumed the
duties of my new appointment. One of the earliest Washington papers I
opened, gave an account of the death of Mr. William Ward, a most
valuable clerk in the Indian Bureau; a man of a fine literary taste, who
formerly edited and established the _North-west Journal_, at the City
_19th_. A singular denouement is made this morning, which appeals
strongly to my feelings. On getting in the stage at Vernon, in Western
New York, a gentleman of easy manners, good figure, and polite address,
whom we will call Theodoric, kindly made way for me and my family, which
led us to notice him, and we traveled together quite to Detroit, and
put up at the same hotel. This morning a note from him reveals him to be
a young Virginian, seeking his fortune west, and out of funds, and makes
precisely such an appeal as it is hard, and wrong in fact, to resist. I
told Theodoric to take his trunk and go, by the next steamer, to my
house at Mackinack, and I should be up in a short time, and furnish him
employment in the Indian department.
_25th_. Rev. Mr. Lukenbach, of the Moravian towns, Canada, writes, that
the proportional annuity of the Christian Indians, for 1838, is unpaid.
He says they were paid 33/100ths, in 1837, being one-third of the
original annuity. He states that Mr. Vogler and Mr. Mickeh arrived on
the Kanzas with upwards of seventy souls, having left nearly one hundred
at Green Bay, who are to follow them; and that these two men have
commenced a new mission among the Delawares. Mr. L. says that there are
but about one hundred and twenty souls left, who propose to remain in
Canada with him.
_30th_. Ke-bic! An exclamation of the Algonquins in passing dangerous
rocky shores in their canoes, when the current is strong. Query. Is not
this the origin of the name Quebec?
_May 2d_. Major Garland, my predecessor in the disbursements, writes
from Washington: "You have a heavy task on your hands for this season;
and, in addition to the hands of Briareus, you will need the eyes
_3d_. I made the payments to the Saginaw chiefs in specie, under the
treaty of the 14th of January, 1837.
_10th_. Mr. F.W. Shearman, the able and ingenious editor of the _Journal
of Education_, writes from Marshall, that it receives an increased
circulation and excites a deeper interest in the people, with his plans
for further improvements.
_16th_. Letters from Mackinack informs me that the Ottawas design
leaving their location in the United States for the Manitouline Islands,
in Canada, where inducements are held out to them by agents of the
British government. They fear going west: they cling to the north.
_20th_. The Harpers, publishers at New York, send me copies of the first
issue of my _Algic Researches_, in two vols., 12mo. They intend to
_publish_ the work on the 1st proximo.
_23d_. Letters from Washington speak of the treasury as being low in
_24th_. Sales of the lands of the Swan Creek and Black River Chippewas,
are made at the Land Office in Detroit, in conformity with the treaty of
May 9th, 1836. The _three_ years that have elapsed in this operation,
have brought the prices of lands from the summer heat to the zero
_27th. Na_, in the Algonquin language, means excellent or transcendent,
and _wa_, motion. Thus the names of two chiefs who visited me to day on
business, are _Na-geezhig_, excellent or transcendent day, and
_Ke-wa-geezhig_, or returning cloud. Whether the word _geezhig_ shall be
rendered day, or cloud, or sky, depends on the nature of its prefix. To
move back is _ke-wa_, and hence the prefixed term to the latter name.
_June 4th_. Received from Col. De Garme Jones, Mayor of Detroit, sundry
manuscript documents relative to the administration of Indian affairs of
Gov. Hull, of the dates of 1807, '8 and '9.
Mr. Johnstone, of Aloor, near Edinburgh, Scotland, brings me a note of
introduction from Gen. James Talmadge, of New York. Mr. J. is a highly
respected man at home, and is traveling in America to gratify a laudable
_7th_. Reached Mackinack, on board the steamer Great Western, Capt.
_10th_. _The Albany Evening Journal_ has a short editorial under the
head of _Algic Researches_: "Such is the title of a work from our
countryman Schoolcraft, which the Harpers have just published, in two
volumes. It consists of Tales and Legends, which the Author has gleaned
in the course of his long and familiar intercourse with the children of
the Forest, illustrating the mental powers and characteristics of the
North American Indians.
"Mr. Schoolcraft has traveled far into the western wilds. He has lived
much with the Indians, and has studied their character thoroughly. He is
withal a scholar and a gentleman, whose name is a sufficient guarantee
for the excellence of all he writes."
_11th_. I set out to complete the appraisement of the Indian
improvements on the north shore of Lake Huron, under the 8th article of
the treaty of March 28th, 1836.
_12th_. Paid the Indians of L'Arbre Croche villages at Little Traverse
Bay, the amount of the appraisement of their _public_ improvements, made
under the treaty of 1836.
_13th_. Proceed to Grand Traverse Bay, to view the location of a mission
by Messrs. Dougherty and Fleming. Found it located on the sands, near
the bottom of the bay, where a vessel could not unload, at a point so
utterly destitute of advantages that it would not have been possible to
select a worse site in the compass of the whole bay, which is large, and
abounds in ship harbors. Condemned the site forthwith, and the same day
removed the site of operations to Kosa's village, on a bay near the end
of the peninsula. I afterwards encamped on the open lake shore, behind a
sand drift, to avoid the force of the wind, and, as soon as the waters
of the lake lulled, made the traverse to the Beaver Islands, to appraise
the value of the Indian improvements at that place, and, having done
this, put across to the main shore north, for the same purpose. In this
trip Mr. Turner accompanied me to keep the lists, and Dr. Douglass to
vaccine the Indians, the latter of whom reported 214 persons as having
submitted to receive the virus.
The Albany papers continue to publish notices of _Algic Researches_. The
_Argus_ of the 13th June, says: "Mr. H.R. Schoolcraft has added another
to his claims upon the consideration of the reading public, by a recent
work (from the press of the Messrs. Harper), entitled '_Algic
Researches_, comprising inquiries respecting the mental characteristics
of the North American Indians.' It is the first of a series, which the
author promises to continue at a future day, illustrative of the
mythology, distinctive opinions, and intellectual character of the
aborigines. These volumes comprise their oral tales, with preliminary
observations and a general introduction. The term _Algic_, is introduced
by the author, in a generic sense, for all the tribes, with few
exceptions, that were found in 1600 spread out between the Atlantic and
"To those who care to look into the philosophy of the Indian character,
these oral fictions will be read with interest. They are curious in
themselves, and not less so as a material step in the researches that
may serve, in the sequel, to unveil the origin, as well as the
intellectual traits, of these tribes. They will at least establish the
fact of 'an oral imaginative lore' among the aborigines of this
continent, of which they give us faithful specimens.
"Probably no man in this country is better qualified to pursue these
researches than Mr. Schoolcraft. A long residence in the Indian country,
and official intercourse with the tribes, have given him an access to
the Indian mind which few have enjoyed, and which none have improved to
a greater extent by habits of observation and philosophical
investigation. A residence at Mackinaw is of itself calculated to beget,
as it is to gratify, a taste for the prosecution of these inquiries. It
is described by Miss Martineau as 'the wildest and tenderest piece of
beauty that she had yet seen on God's earth.' It is indeed a spot of
rare attractiveness. Standing upon the promontory, in the rear of the
fort and town, the view embraces to the north the head waters of the
Huron and the far-off isles of St. Martin, to the west Green Isle and
the straits of Mackinaw, and to the east and south Bois Blanc and the
Great Lake. It is a delightful summer retreat, and many are the legends
and reminiscences of the scenes of enjoyment passed here in absolute,
and we are assured happy, exclusion from the outward world, during the
winter months. It has been regarded, at no distant day, as important not
only as the rendezvous of the Fur Companies' agents and employers and
the Indian traders, but as a government military post. It is still a
great resort of the northern Indians. Often their lodges and their bark
canoes, of beautiful construction, line the pebbly shore; and the
aboriginal habits and mental characteristics may be studied on the spot.
"It is to be hoped that Mr. S. will resume the course of inquiry and
research that he has marked out for himself; and that he will be induced
to give to the public the results of his long and intimate familiarity
with the Indian life and character."
_17th_. The _Detroit Daily Advertiser_, of this day, has the following
critical notice on the work of _Algic Researches_, under the head of
_Indian Tales and Legends_.
"This work has just been offered for sale at our book-stores, and we
strongly recommend it to all those who feel an interest in the character
of our aborigines. It is well known to many of us here, that Mr.
Schoolcraft has, for the last several years, been industriously engaged
in collecting facts which illustrate the 'mythology, distinctive
opinions, and intellectual character' of the Indians. His researches
have embraced 'their oral tales, fictitious and historical; their
hieroglyphics, music, and poetry; and the grammatical structure of their
languages, the principles of their construction, and the actual state
of their vocabulary.' The materials he has now on hand afford him the
means of fulfilling this extensive plan, and this 'first series' is only
a leading publication.
"When the position which Mr. S. has occupied for the last seventeen or
more years is recollected, as well as his fitness and exertions to
improve all its advantages, we shall at once see the benefit to the
literary and scientific world which his researches in these various
departments are likely to produce. The subjects which have engaged his
attention are regarded with deep interest by the philanthropist, the
philologist, the archaeologist, as well as many other liberal inquirers,
both in Europe and America, who, amid the scanty facts, cursory
observations, and hurried, random conjectures of those who have been
favored with a comparatively near view of them, have lamented the want
of such deliberate investigations and comparative examinations,
continued with sober judgment through a long series of years, as are now
offered to the public. We trust that a proper and enlightened patronage
will warrant Mr. Schoolcraft in completing his design. No man,
possessing his qualifications, has enjoyed his advantages. He has been
able to take up, at his leisure, the scattered links of a broken chain,
and fit them together. A chaos of aboriginal facts will be reduced,
under his hand, to some degree of order.
"Mr. Schoolcraft and Mr. Catlin have done more to preserve the fleeting
traits of aboriginal character and history than all their predecessors
in this field of inquiry, and none can follow them with the same
success, as none can have the same range of subjects before them. The
scene is changing with each year, and the past, with respect to the
Savages, does not recur. They fall back with no hope to recover lost
ground; they diminish with no hope to increase again; they degenerate
with no hope to revive in physical or moral strength. Those who have
seen them most during the last few years, have seen them best. After
observers will find mere fragments, or a heterogeneous mass, in which
all original identity is distorted or gone.
"The Tales now published must not be estimated for their intrinsic merit
alone. They may have less variety of construction, less beauty of
imagination, less singularity of incident, than belong to oriental
tales, the productions of more refined times, or more excitable people.
But the estimate must not be comparative. They are to be regarded as
the type of aboriginal mind, as the measure of intellectual power of our
Sons of the Forest; as speaking their sentiments, their hopes and their
fears, whatever they were or are, whether elevated or depressed, whether
raising the race or sinking it in the scale of untutored nations.
Whether they prove a poverty of mental energy, a feebleness of
imagination, a want of invention, or the reverse, cannot affect the
value of these volumes in the opinion of those who look into them for
evidences of the true character of the Indians. Mr. Schoolcraft, or any
other gentleman of taste and skill, might have formed out of these
materials a series of Tales, highly finished in their unity and design,
strikingly colored by fancy, such as would have caught the popular whim.
But this was not his object. He has been honest in his renderings of the
aboriginal sense, whether pointed or mystical, of the Indian's
mythology, whether intelligible or obscure; of their shadowy glimpses of
the past and the future; of the beginning and end of things, without
alteration or embellishment. Such a work was wanted, and such a work was
expected from Mr. Schoolcraft.
"If we have room, we will quote one or two of the shorter tales, such as
'Mon-daw-min, or the origin of Indian corn,' and the 'Celestial
Sisters,' both of which are very characteristic, and show, under the
garb of much figurative beauty, how Indians appreciate the blessings of
a kind Providence, and, how his domestic affections may glow and endure.
Indeed, there are few of these tales that would not give interest to our
columns, and we shall be pleased to give our readers an occasional
taste, provided we thereby induce them to supply themselves with the
full feast in their power."
_20th_. It is stated that the oldest town in the United States is St.
Augustine, Florida, by more than forty years. It was founded forty years
before Virginia was colonized. Some of the houses are yet standing which
are said to have been built more than three centuries ago, that is to
say, about 1540. De Soto landed in Florida in 1539. Narvaez, in his
unfortunate expedition, landed in 1537. Both these expeditions were
confined to the exploration of the country west and north of the Bay of
Espiritu Santo, reaching to the Mississippi. De Soto crossed the latter
into the southeastern corner of the present State of Missouri, and into
the area of Arkansas, where he died.
_21st_. _The Detroit Free Press_, of this day, has the following
"Much interest is manifested in this work of Mr. Schoolcraft, as a
timely rescue from oblivion of an important portion of the great world
of mind--important inasmuch as it is a manifestation of two principles
of human nature prominent in an interesting variety of the human race,
the sense of the marvelous and the sense of the beautiful, or the
developments of wonder and ideality. The character of a people cannot be
fully understood without a reference to its tales of fiction and its
poetry. Poetry is the offspring of the beautiful and the wonderful, and
much of it the reader will find embodied in the Indian tales to which
the author of the _Algic Researches_ has given an enduring record.
"Much of this work strongly reminds the reader of the Grecian Mythology
and the _Arabian Nights Entertainments_.
"According to one of the Odjibwa tales, the morning star was once a
beautiful damsel that longed to go to 'the place of the breaking of
daylight." By the following poetic invocation of her brother, she was
raised upon the winds, blowing from 'the four corners of the earth,' to
the heaven of her hopes:--
Blow winds, blow! my sister lingers
From her dwelling in the sky,
Where _the morn with rosy fingers_,
Shall her cheeks with vermil dye.
There, my earliest views directed,
Shall from her their color take,
And her smiles, through clouds reflected,
Guide me on, by wood and lake.
"The work abounds with similar beautiful thoughts and inventions.
"Catlin may be called the red man's painter; Schoolcraft his poetical
historian. They have each painted in living colors the workings of the
Indian mind, and painted nature in her unadorned simplicity. They have
done much which, without them, would, perhaps, have remained undone, and
become extinct with the Indian race. As monuments of history for future
ages, their works are not sufficiently appreciated.
"The author of these volumes has stamped upon his page much of the
intellectual existence of the simple children of the forest, and
bequeathed us a detail map of their _terra incognita_--their fireside
amusements in legendary lore."
I am willing to notice this and some other criticisms of this work as
popular expressions of opinion on the subject. But it is difficult for
an editor to judge, from the mere face of the volumes, what an amount of
auxiliary labor it has required to collect these legends from the Indian
wigwams. They had to be gleaned and translated from time to time.
Seventeen years have passed since I first began them--not that anything
like this time, or the half of it, has been devoted to it. It was one of
my amusements in the long winter evenings--the only time of the year
when Indians will tell stories and legends. They required pruning and
dressing, like wild vines in a garden. But they are, exclusively (with
the exception of the allegory of the vine and oak), wild vines, and not
pumpings up of my own fancy. The attempts to lop off excrescences are
not, perhaps, always happy. There might, perhaps, have been a fuller
adherence to the original language and expressions; but if so, what a
world of verbiage must have been retained. The Indians are prolix, and
attach value to many minutiae in the relation which not only does not
help forward the denouement, but is tedious and witless to the last
degree. The gems of the legends--the essential points--the invention and
thought-work are all preserved.
Their chief value I have ever thought to consist in the insight they
give into the dark cave of the Indian mind--its beliefs, dogmas, and
opinions--its secret modes of turning over thought--its real philosophy;
and it is for this trait that I believe posterity will sustain the book.
A literary friend, of good judgment, of Detroit, writes (19th): "Your
tales have reached me, and I have read them over with a deep interest,
arising from a double source--the intrinsic value of such stories and
the insight they give of Indian intellect and modes of thought. They
form a truly important acquisition to our literary treasures, as they
throw a light oft the Indian character which has been imparted from no
other quarter. They form a standard by which to determine what is true
and what is false in the representations made heretofore of the
aboriginal nations on most prominent subjects. No one will doubt that
you render the genuine Indian mind and heart. Those who conform to
these renderings will pass muster; the rest will be rejected. Let Mr.
Cooper and others be thus measured."
_24th_. Muk-kud-da Ka-niew (or the Black War Eagle), chief of the coasts
of Arenac, brought me an antique pipe of peculiar construction,
disinterred at Thunder Bay. It was found about six feet underground; and
was disclosed by the blowing down of a large pine, which tore up a
quantity of earth by its roots. The tree was two fathoms round, and
would make a large canoe. With the pipe were found two earthen vases,
which broke on taking them up. In these vases were some small bones of
the pickerel's spine. He saw also the leg bones of an Indian, but the
upper part of the skeleton appeared to be decomposed, and was not
visible. He thinks the tree must have grown up on an old grave. The pipe
consisted of a squared and ornamented bowl, with a curved and tapering
handle, all made solid from a sort of coarse _terra cotta_. He says it
was used by taking the small end in the mouth, and thinks such was the
practice of the ancient Indians, although the mode is now so different
by their descendants. The chief ornament consists of eight dots on each
face, separated by longitudinal strokes, leaving four in a compartment.
If the tree was four feet diameter, as he states, it denotes an ancient
occupation of the shores of Lake Huron, which was probably of the old
era of the mining for copper in Lake Superior.
American antiquities--Michilimackinack a summer resort--Death of Ogimau
Keegido--Brothertons--An Indian election--Cherokee murders--Board of
Regents of the Michigan University--Archaeological facts and
rumors--Woman of the Green Valley--A new variety of fish--Visits of the
Austrian and Sardinian Ministers to the U.S.--Mr. Gallup--Sioux
murders--A remarkable display of aurora borealis--Ottawas
of Maumee--Extent of auroral phenomena--Potawattomie
cruelty--Mineralogy--Death of Ondiaka--Chippewa tradition--Fruit
trees--Stone's preparation of the Life and Times of Sir William
Johnson--Dialectic difference between the language of the Ottawas and
the Chippewas--Philological remarks on the Indian languages--Mr.
1839. _June 25th_. ALEX V.V. BRADFORD, Esq., of New York, being about to
publish a work on American antiquities, solicits permission to use
some of my engravings. I am glad to see an increasing interest in our
archaeology, and hope to live to see the day when the popular tastes
will permit books to be published on the subject.
[Footnote 93: This work was published, I think, in 1841.]
_26th_. Mrs. Morris brings a letter from Hon. A.E. Wing, of Monroe. She
contemplates spending the summer on the island on account of impaired
health. The pure air and fine summer climate of Mackinack begin to be
appreciated within a year or two by valetudinarians. It is a perfect
Montpelier to them. The inhaling of its pure and dry atmosphere in
midsummer is found to act very favorably on the digestive organs. No
process of _health-making gymnastics_ is prescribed by physicians. They
merely direct persons to walk about and enjoy the sights and scenes
about them, to saunter along its winding paths, or go fishing or
gunning. Its woods are delightful, and its cliffs command the sublimest
views. One would think that if the muses are ever routed from the bare
hills of Olympus and the springs of Helicon, they would take shelter in
the glens of Michilimackinack, where the Indian _pukwees_, or _fairies_,
danced of old. I received intelligence of the death of Ogimau Keegido
(Speaker Chief), the head sachem of the Saginaws. He had indulged some
time in drinking, and, after getting out of this debauch, was confined
by sickness three days. Death came to his relief. Some years ago this
man met with an accident by the discharge of a gun, by which his liver
protruded; he took his knife and cut off a small piece, which he ate as
a panacea. He was a man of strong passions and ungoverned will. He
visited Washington in 1836, and, with other chiefs, sold the Saginaw
The party of Saginaws who brought me the above information had among
them twenty-two orphan children, whose parents had died of small-pox.
They were on their way to the Manitoulines.
_28th_. Mud-je-ke-wis, a minor chief of Grand Traverse Bay, surrenders a
belt of blue and white wampum, and a gilt gorget, which he had received
from some officer of the British Indian Department in Canada, saying he
renounces allegiance to that government, and reports himself, from this
day, as an American.
_29th_. Chingossamo (Big Sail), of Cheboigan, having migrated to the
Manitouline Islands with thirteen families, about seventy-nine souls, an
election was this day held, at this office, by the Indians, to supply
the place of ruling chief. Sticks, of two colors, were prepared as
ballots for the two candidates. Of these, Keeshowa received two-thirds,
and was declared duly elected. I granted a certificate of this election.
The present population is reduced to forty-four souls, who live in
thirteen families. This band are Chippewas.
Gen. Scott arrives at this post, on a general tour of inspection of the
northern posts, and proceeds the same day to Sault St. Marie,
accompanied by Maj. Whiting.
_July 2d_. The _Wisconsin Democrat_, of this date, contains an
interesting sketch of the history of the Brotherton Indians, which is
represented to be "composed of the descendants of the six following
named tribes of Indians, viz., the Naragansetts, of Rhode Island; the
Stoningtons, or Pequoits, of Groton, Connecticut; the Montauks, of Long
Island; the Mohegans, Nianticks, and Farmington Indians, also of
Connecticut. Several years before the American Revolution, a single
Indian of the Montauk tribe left his nation and traveled into the State
of New York. He had no fixed purpose in view more than (as he expressed
it) to see the world. During his absence, however, he fortunately paid
a visit to the Oneidas, then a very large and powerful tribe of Indians
residing in the State of New York. With them he concluded to rest a
short time. They, discovering that he possessed 'some of the white man's
learning,' employed him to teach a common reading and writing school
among them. He remained with them longer than he at first intended.
During this time the Oneida chief made many inquiries respecting his
(the Montauk) tribe, and the other tribes before mentioned, and
received, for answer, 'that they had almost become extinct--that their
game was fast disappearing--that their landed possessions were very
small--that the pure blood of their ancestors had become mixed with both
the blood of the white man and the African---that new and fatal diseases
had appeared among them--that the curse of all curses, the white man's
stream of liquid fire, was inundating their very existence, and the
gloomy prospect of inevitable annihilation seemed to stare them in the
face--that no 'hope with a goodly prospect fed the eye.' The Oneida
chief, actuated partly with a desire to extend the hand of brotherly
affection to rescue the above tribes from the melancholy fate that
seemed to await them, and partly with a desire to manifest his deep
sense of the valuable services rendered to him and his nation in his
having taught among them a school, gave to the schoolteacher a tract of
land twelve miles square for the use and benefit of his tribe, and the
other tribes mentioned."
The treaty of the 14th of January, 1837, with the Saginaws, is confirmed
by the Senate.
_3d_. The _Arkansas Little Rock Gazette_, of this date, states that the
long existing feud in the Cherokee nation, which has divided its old and
new settlers, has terminated in a series of frightful murders. Its
language is this:--
"We briefly alluded in our last to a report from the west that John
Ridge, one of the principal chiefs of the Cherokee nation, had been
assassinated. More recent accounts confirm the fact, and bring news of
the murder of Ridge's father, together with Elias Boudinot and some ten
or twelve men of less distinction (some accounts say thirty or forty),
all belonging to Ridge's party.
"These murders are acknowledged to have been committed by the partisans
of John Boss, between whom and Ridge a difference has for a long time
subsisted, growing out of the removal of the Cherokees from the old
nation to the west, Ridge having uniformly been favorable to that course
and Ross opposing it."
A council was recently held to consult in relation to the laws to be
adopted by the united nation in their present country, there being some
essential differences between the code by which that portion of the
nation recently emigrated from the east had been governed, and the laws
adopted by the old settlers in the west. Each party contended for the
adoption of its own code, and neither would concede to the other, and
the council finally broke up without being able to come to any
understanding on the subject. On his way from this council, Ridge was
murdered. Ridge, although a recent emigrant, we understand agreed with
the old settlers in regard to the adoption of their laws, while Ross
contended for those of the old nation east.
After the murder of Ridge, General Arbuckle, the commander of the United
States forces on this frontier, sent a detachment of dragoons to Ross,
with a request that he would come to the garrison, who declined unless
he could be allowed to bring with him some six or seven hundred of his
armed partisans, and take them into the garrison with him. This, of
course, could not be allowed, and so the detachment returned to the
garrison, and after that the murders subsequent to that of Ridge were
committed. One of them was perpetrated within the bounds of Washington
County, in this State, and we hope the necessary steps will be taken by
our authorities to secure and bring to trial the murderer, and thus
preserve inviolate the jurisdiction of our State over her own soil. "We
learn that a council was called of the whole nation, to be held
yesterday, with a view of settling the existing difficulties, and we
hope it may result in establishing peace among them."
_3d_. I received a letter introducing Mr. and Mrs. Kane, of Albany. We
love an agreeable surprise. I recognized in Mrs. K. the daughter of an
old friend--a most lady-like, agreeable, and talented woman; and deemed
my time agreeably devoted in showing my visitors the curiosities of
_6th_. The business of my superintendency calls me to Detroit. Fiscal
questions, the employment of special agents, the collection of treasury
drafts, the payment of annuities; these are some of the constant cares,
full of responsibilities, which call for incessant vigilance. I reached
the city in the steamer "Gen. Wayne," at 8 o'clock, in the morning.
_8th_. John A. Bell, and Sand Watie, Cherokee chiefs, publish in the
_Arkansas Gazette_, an appeal to public justice, on the murder of the
Ridges and Boudinot, which took place on the 22d of June previous.
_13th_. Rev. Mr. Duffield informs me of some geological antiquities,
reported to have been recently discovered in Ohio, made in the course of
the excavations on the line of the canal, between Cleaveland and Beaver.
_15th_. The Board of Regents of the University of Michigan inform me, by
their secretary, of my having been placed on a committee, as chairman,
to report "such amendments to the organic law of the University, as they
shall deem essential, with a view to their presentation to the next
_25th_. Being on my passage from Detroit to Mackinack, on Lake Huron, a
Mr. Wetzler, of Rock River, Wisconsin, stated to me that a Mr. Davy, an
English emigrant, found, in making an excavation in his land near
"Oregon," some antiquities, consisting of silver coins, for which Mr.
Wetzler offered him, unsuccessfully, $50. The story looks very much like
a humbug, but it was told with all seriousness by a respectable
A Mr. Ruggles, of Huron, Ohio, who was aboard of the same vessel, said,
that hacks of an axe were found in buried cedars, some years ago, at a
depth of about 40 feet below the surface, near the east edge of Huron
County, Ohio. There are no cedars, he adds, now growing in that
section of Ohio.
The _Burlington Gazette_ (Iowa) says, "that a Sac and Fox war party
recently returned from the Missouri, bringing eight scalps, and a number
of female prisoners, and horses. The Indians murdered were of the Omaha
tribe. The party consisted of ten men, with their squaws; and, although
only eight scalps were brought in, it is supposed that not a single man
escaped. We are not aware that feelings of hostility have heretofore
existed between these nations. The ostensible object of the Sac and Fox
party was to chastise the Sioux. The expedition was headed by Pa-ma-sa,
the bold and daring brave who recently inflicted a dangerous wound upon
the person of Ke-o-kuk."
_26th_. Arrived at Mackinack, in the steamer "United States," at 4
o'clock in the morning, after an absence of about twenty days.
_27th_. Mr. John R. Kellogg says, that during the early settlement of
Onondaga, N.Y., say about 1800, in cutting into a tree, in the vicinity
of Skaneateles, _iron_ was struck. On searching, they cut out a rude
chain, which was wound about in the wood, and appeared to have been
fastened above. Query, had this been a pot trammel of some ancient
explorer? Onondaga is known to have been early visited.
He also stated that three distinct hacks of an axe, of the ordinary
size, were found, in cutting down an oak, at the same period, in Ontario
County. Six hundred cortical layers were found _outside_ of these
antique hacks, indicating that they were made in the 12th century. I
record these archaeological memoranda merely for inquiry.
_29th_. Osha-wus-coda-waqua, a daughter of Wabojeeg, a celebrated war
chief of the close of last century, of Lake Superior, visited the
office. She states that her name is the result of a dream, by some
ancient crone, who officiated at her nativity, and that it means _the
Woman of the Green Valley_. She is now about 60 years of age. When about
15 or 16, she is said to have been a slender, comely lass, with large
bright hazel eyes, and a graceful figure. At this age, she married a
young gentleman from the north of Ireland, of good family and standing,
and high connections, who made a wild adventure into this region. This
is the origin of the Johnston family, in the basin of Lake Superior, and
the Straits of St. Mary's. She has had eight children, four sons and
four daughters, all of whom grew up to maturity, and all but the eldest
are now living. Her husband, who became a noted merchant or outfitter, a
man of great influence with the Indians, and high intelligence and
social virtues, died in 1828, at the age of about 66 years. She is now
subject to some infirmities; fleshy and heavy, and strongly inclined, I
should judge, to apoplexy. Her father, Wabojeeg, died of consumption,
not very old. She told me that the hieroglyphics and pictures which the
Indians cut on trees, or draw on barks, or rocks, which are designed to
convey _instruction_, are called KE-KEE-WIN--a word which has its plural
in _un_. It is a noun inanimate. She laughs at the attempts of the
American and foreign traders to speak the Indian, the rules of which
they perpetually, she says, violate.
_31st_. A new species of white fish appears in the St. Mary's this
spring. It is characterized by a very small mouth, and pointed head, and
a crowning back, and is a remarkably _fat_ fish. The Odjibwas call it
_o-don-i-bee,_ or water-mouth. Hence the Canadian word _Tulibee_.
Wakazo, an Ottawa chief of Waganukizzie, and his band visit the office,
to confer on their affairs. He persists in his former determination to
form an agricultural settlement with his people, on the North Black
River, Michigan shore, and says that they will go down, to open their
farms, soon after the payment of the annuities.
_Aug. 1st_. Visited by the Baron Mareschal, Austrian Minister at
Washington, and Count de Colobiano, Minister of the kingdom of Sardinia.
These gentlemen both impressed me with their quiet, easy manner, and
perfect freedom from all pretence. I went out with them, to show them
the Arched Rock, the Sugar-loaf Rock, and other natural curiosities. At
the Sugar-loaf Rock they got out of the carriage and strolled about. The
baron and count at last seated themselves on the grass. The former was a
tall, rather grave man, with blue eyes, well advanced in years, and a
German air; the latter, three or four inches shorter of stature, with
black eyes, an animated look, and many years the junior.
_4th_. My children arrived at Mackinack this evening, from their
respective schools at Brooklyn and Philadelphia, on their summer
vacation, and have, on examination, made good progress.
_7th_. Albert Gallup, Esq., of Albany, lands on his way to Green Bay as
a U.S. commissioner to treat with the Stockbridges. This gentleman
brought me official dispatches relative to his mission and the
expenditures of it, and, by his ready and prompt mode of acting and
speaking, led me to call to mind another class of visitors, who seem to
aim by extreme formality and circumlocution to strive to hide want of
capacity and narrow-mindedness. Mr. Gallup mentioned a passage of
Scripture, which is generally quoted wrong--"he who reads may
run"--which set me to hunting for it. The passage is "that he may run
that readeth it."--HABAKKUK ii. 2.
_10th_. Mr. Stringham, of Green Bay, reports that he had recently
visited the scene of a battle or affray between the Sioux and
Chippewas, on Lake St. Croix, near the mouth of the St. Croix River,
Upper Mississippi. One or two Sioux, it seems, had been killed by some
thoughtless young men of a party of Chippewas, about three hundred
strong. This party encamped on the south shores of Lake St. Croix. They
were secretly followed by the Sioux, who, watching their opportunity,
fell on the camp while they were asleep, near daylight. One hundred and
twenty were killed in the onset. As soon as the Chippewas discovered
their position, and recovered their self-possession, they rallied, and,
attacking the assailants, drove them from the field, killed twenty, and
chased them to near their village. Hearing of this, the captain of the
steamer, on board of which Mr. S. was, went into the lake, and they
viewed the dead bodies.
_24th_. Returned to Mackinack, after a trip of eight days to Detroit.
The Iowa papers give accounts of the recent shocking murders committed
by the Sioux. "We learn," says the _Burlington Patriot_, "from Governor
Lucas and another gentleman, who came passengers on the 'Ione,' last
evening, that two hundred and twenty Indians were killed in the upper
country about the 1st inst. The facts, as they were related by a young
gentleman who was at the treaty, are as follows: The Sioux had invited
the Chippewas to meet them at St. Peter's, for the purpose of making a
treaty of everlasting friendship. The Chippewas assembled
accordingly--the pipe of peace was smoked--and they parted apparently
good friends. A large party of the Chippewas was encamped at the Falls
of St. Anthony, and a smaller party encamped on the St. Croix, on their
way home, without the least suspicion of treachery on the part of the
Sioux. While they were thus peaceably encamped, they were surprised by
the Sioux, who commenced their butchery. They immediately rallied, but
before the battle terminated the Chippewas lost one hundred and fifty at
the Falls and twenty on the St. Croix. The number of Sioux killed on the
occasion amounted to about fifty. We do not much wonder at the hostility
that has been exhibited by the Sauks and Foxes against the Sioux, if
this latter tribe has always been as treacherous as they were on the
_Sept. 3d_. A remarkable and most magnificent display of the Aurora
Borealis occurred in the evening. It began a quarter before eight, as I
was sitting on the piazza in front of my house, which commands a view
of the lake in front, and the whole southern hemisphere. From the zenith
points of light flared down the southern hemisphere. The north had none.
For five minutes the appearance, was most magnificent. Streaks of blue
and crimson red light appeared in several parts. At ten minutes to
eight, long lines began to form on the east, then west, and varying to
north-west, very bright, silvery and phosphorescent. Before nine, the
rays shot up from the horizon north-east, and finally north--the
southern hemisphere, at the same time, losing its brilliance. This light
continued in full activity of effulgence to ten, and, after my retiring
from the piazza, its gleams were visible through the windows the greater
part of the night, till two o'clock or later.
_11th_. A chief from St. Mary's, called Iawba Waddik (Male Reindeer),
visited the office. This man's name affords an evidence of the manner in
which a noun or adjective prefix is joined to a noun proper, namely, by
the interposition of a consonant before the noun, whenever the latter
_begins_, and the former _ends_, with a vowel. We cannot say,
iawba-_addik_--male deer; but euphony requires that, in these cases, the
letter _w_ should precede, and soften the sound of the initial _a_.
This chief was first introduced to me in 1822. His tall and lithe form,
his ease of manners, and a certain mild and civilized air, made me
notice him. He turned out to be the youngest son of a noted war chief,
called the White Fisher--Wa-bo-jeeg. He had, however, never been on the
war path, but addressed himself early to the art of hunting, in which he
excelled, and furnished his family with a plentiful supply of food and
clothing. He had had twelve children by one wife, giving an impressive
lesson, that peaceful habits and a plentiful supply of the means of
subsistence, are conducive to their usual results.
He is now about 45 years of age. The seventeen years during which I have
known him, have not detracted from his erect figure, his mild and easy
manners, or his docile and decidedly domestic disposition.
_12th_. The payment of the Indian annuities, which commenced on the 3d
instant, was continued till the 10th, and, skipping the 11th (Sunday),
finished this day. These payments were made as usual, in specie, and
_per capita_--man, woman, and child faring alike. The annuities in
provisions, tobacco, salt, &c., were, in conformity with custom, turned
over to the chiefs of bands in bulk; and by them divided, with
scrupulous care, among their people. The payments and deliveries have
engaged the whole force of the department for seven or eight days, and
have ended satisfactory to the Indians, who have been subsisted,
meantime, on the public provisions, without trenching on their
_13th_. The Maumee Ottawas arrive at Louisville, Ky., on their way to
the west. Among this band there are two chiefs, Anto-kee, the head
chief, and Petonoquette, a much younger man. Anto-kee is a son of the
celebrated chief Tushquaquier, who was looked upon by the Ottawas as the
father of the tribe. Petanoquette is half French, son of Louisan, a
distinguished chief, who was killed, when Petonoquette was a mere child,
by that most barbarous and ferocious of all warriors, Kish-kau-go, who
afterwards committed suicide in the Detroit jail, in which he was
confined for murder. Anto-kee and Petonoquette are represented as very
good men, well informed, and not much inclined to barbarity. The former
is said to be a relative of the great Pontiac.
_14th_. Leave Mackinack for Detroit.
_27th_. Return from an official visit to the office at Detroit.
_30th_. A London paper of Sept. 4th notices a brilliant display of the
aurora borealis and falling stars, on the same day of the extraordinary
display of the same kind, witnessed on this island. The first impression
in that city, was of a great fire in some distant part of the city,
there being, at first, a dense red light. The difference between the two
places is about 25 deg. of latitude. Its commencement was about half, or
three quarters of an hour later. The editor says:--
"Between the hours of ten last night and three this morning in the
heavens were observed one of the most magnificent specimens of that
extraordinary phenomena--the falling stars and northern lights--ever
witnessed for many years past. The first indication of this singular
phenomenon was about ten minutes before ten, when a light crimson,
apparently vapor, rose from the northern portion of the hemisphere, and
gradually extended to the centre of the heavens, and by ten o'clock, or
a quarter past, the whole, from east to west, was in one vast sheet of
light. It had a most alarming appearance, and was exactly like that
occasioned by a terrific fire. The light varied considerably; at one
time it seemed to fall, and directly after rose with intense brightness.
There were to be seen mingled with it volumes of smoke, which rolled
over and over, and every beholder seemed convinced that it was 'a
tremendous conflagration.' The consternation in the metropolis was very
great; thousands of persons were running in the direction of the
supposed catastrophe. The engines belonging to the fire brigade stations
in Baker Street, Farringdon Street, Wattling Street, Waterloo Road, and
likewise those belonging to the West of England station; in fact, every
fire-engine in London was horsed, and galloped after the supposed 'scene
of destruction' with more than ordinary energy, followed by carriages,
horsemen, and vast mobs. Some of the engines proceeded as far as
Highgate and Holloway before the error was discovered.
"These appearances lasted for upwards of two hours, and towards morning
the spectacle became one of more grandeur. At two o'clock this morning,
the phenomenon presented a most gorgeous scene, and one very difficult
to describe. The whole of London was illuminated as light as noonday,
and the atmosphere was remarkably clear. The southern hemisphere, at the
time mentioned, although unclouded, was very dark, but the stars, which
were innumerable, shone beautifully. The opposite side of the heavens
presented a singular but magnificent contrast; it was clear to the
extreme, and the light was very vivid; there was a continual succession
of meteors, which varied in splendor. They apparently formed in the
centre of the heavens, and spread till they seemed to burst; the effect
was electrical; myriads of small stars shot out over the horizon, and
darted with that swiftness towards the earth that the eye scarcely could
follow the track; they seemed to burst also and throw a dark crimson
over the entire hemisphere. The colors were the most magnificent that
ever were seen. At half-past two o'clock the spectacle changed to
darkness, which, on dispersing, displayed a luminous rainbow in the
zenith of the heavens and round the ridge of darkness that overhung the
southern portion of the country. Soon afterwards, columns of silvery
light radiated from it; they increased wonderfully, intermingled amongst
crimson vapor, which formed at the same time; and, when at the full
height, the spectacle was beyond all imagination. Stars were darting
about in all directions, and continued until four o'clock, and all died
away. During the time that they lasted, a great many persons assembled
on the bridges across the river Thames, where they had a commanding view
of the heavens, and watched the progress of the phenomenon attentively."
_Oct. 2d_. Mr. J.H. Kinzie, of Chicago, mentioned to me, in a former
interview, a striking trait of the barbarity of the Potawattomies in the
treatment of their women. Two female slaves, or wives of Wabunsee, had a
quarrel. One of them went, in her excited state of feeling, to the
chief, and told him that the other had ill-treated his children. He
ordered the accused to come before him. He told her to lie down on her
back on the ground. He then directed the other (her accuser) to take a
tomahawk and dispatch her. She split open her skull, and killed her
immediately. He left her unburied, but was afterwards persuaded to
direct the murderess to bury her. She dug a grave so shallow, that the
Wolves dug out the body that night and partly devoured it.
_3d_. James L. Schoolcraft brought me some mineralogical and geological
specimens from _Isle Cariboo_--the land of golden dreams and fogs in
Lake Superior. The island has a basis of chocolate-colored sandstone.
_5th_. The _Oneida Whig_ mentions the death, on the 20th ultimo, near
Oneida Castle, New York, of Ondayaka, head chief of the Onondagas, aged
about ninety-six. At the time of his death, Ondayaka, and the
subordinate chiefs and principal men of his nation, were on their way to
join in the ceremonies of electing a head chief of the Oneidas. Within a
few miles of the council house of the latter tribe, Ondayaka placed
himself at the head of the deputation of the Onondagas, and commenced
the performance of the ceremonies observed on such occasions, when he
was suddenly seized with the bilious colic. Calling the next chief in
authority to fill his station, he withdrew to the road side, when he
soon after expressed a consciousness that "it was the will of the _Great
Spirit_ that he should live no longer upon the earth." He then sent for
his people, and took leave of them, after counseling them to cultivate
and practice temperance and brotherly love in their councils and among
the people of the nation, and friendship and integrity with all. He soon
after became unable to speak, and in a few hours his spirit was gathered
to the Great Spirit who gave it.
_7th_. The following is an Odjibwa tradition. Adjejauk and Oshugee were
brothers, living at St. Mary's Falls. Oshugee was the elder. One day he
took his brother's fishing-pole into the rapids, and accidentally broke
it. This caused a quarrel. Oshugee went off south, and was referred to
as Shawnee. This was the origin of that tribe who call the Chippewas
_Younger Brother_, to this day. This is said by Nabunwa. The Shawnee
(southman) here named is not the Shawnee tribe. With this explanation,
the tradition may be admitted. It was probably the origin of the
_10th_. Two plum trees, standing in front of the agency, which had
attained their full growth, and borne fruit plentifully, for some few
years, began to droop, and finally died during the autumn. I found, by
examination, that their roots had extended into cold underground springs
of water, which have their issue under the high cliff immediately behind
the agency. They had originally been set out as wall fruit, within a few
feet of the front wall of the house, on its southern side. The one was
the common blue plum, the other an egg plum.
A mountain ash, standing some twenty feet west of them, had protruded
its roots into a similar cold moisture, but, so far from injuring it,
the tree grew more luxuriantly, putting forth leaves and berries in the
greatest profusion. Seeing this disposition to flourish by its proximity
to underground currents, I cut the bark of the tree, which is of a close
binding character, to allow it to expand, and found this to have an
excellent effect. This tree bears a white bell-shaped cluster of
blossoms, which originate the most beautiful scarlet berries in the
autumn. The one species is a native, the other an exotic.
_12th_. _Pemid-jee_, signifies in Chippewa across, sideways. _Go-daus_
is a garment, or cloth designed for it. Hence _mad-jee-co-ta_ a skirt or
_17th_. Col. Wm.L. Stone writes that he is making progress in his _Life
and Times of Sir William Johnson_, and begs a copy of the old Military
Orderly Book, in my possession, detailing the siege and taking of Fort
Niagara, &c. He says of _Algie Researches_: "By the way, what a
delightful book you furnished us. Don't you remember that I told you not
to go to ---- for revision? He would have spoiled your simple and
beautiful tales. President Wayland, my brother-in-law, was delighted
_Dec.5th_. Abraham Schoolcraft, Special Emigrating Agent, reports the
safe arrival of the Swan Creeks at their destination on the river Osage.
The lands are fertile, the waters good, forest trees in abundance for
fire-wood and fences. Everything promises well for their future
_13th_. Wrote to Col. Stone, transmitting him a copy of the old journal,
before alluded to, of the siege of Niagara, in 1759, the march of Gen.
Bradstreet for the relief of Detroit, in 1763, &c.
_26th_. Mackinack has again assumed its winter phase. We are shut in
from the tumult of the world, and must rely for our sources of
intellectual sustenance and diversion on books, or researches, such as
may present themselves.
The following words, I am assured, are different, in the Ottawa and
1. Axe, Wag-a-kwut, Nah-bah-gun.
2. Point, Na-au-shi, Sin-gang.
3. Spring (season), Se-gwun, Me-no-ka-mi.
4. Scissors, Mozh-wa-gun, Sip-po-ne-gun.
5. Spear, Ah-nit, Nah-bah-e-gun.
6. Stop; cease; be still, Ah-no-wa-tan, Mah-ga-nick.
7. It's flown away, Ke-pah-ze-qwah-o, Ke-ke-ze-kay.
8. Maple tree, In-ne-nah-tig, As-sin-ah-mish.
9. Milk, To-dosh-a-bo, Mo-nah-gan-a-bo.
10. Small lake, or pond, Sah-gi-e-gan, Ne-bis.
11. He smokes, Sug-gus-wau, Pin-dah-qua.
12. It is calm, Ah-no-wa-tin, To-kis-sin.
13. It will be a severe,
or bad day, Tah-mat-chi-geezh-ik-ud. Tah-goot-au-gan.
14. I will visit, Ningah-mah-wa-tish-e-way, Ningah-Ne-
15. He will quarrel
(with) you, Kegah-Ke-kau-mig, Kegau-ne-tehi-we-ig.
16. He will strike you, Kegah-Puk-e-tay-og, Kegah-wa-po-taig.
17. Hammer, Puk-ke-tai-e-gun, Wap-o-ge-gin.
18. Dog, An-ne-moosh, An-ne-mo-kau-gi.
19. My mother, Nin-guh, Nin-gush,
20. Yes, Aih, Au-nin-da.
It is evident that these dialectic differences arise, not from the use
of a different language, but a different mode of applying the same
language--a language in which every syllable has a well-known primitive
meaning. Thus, in the name for maple tree(8), the Chippewa means,
spouted, or man tree (alluding to its being tapped for its sap), and the
Ottawa, stoned, or cut tree, alluding to the same feature. The same
terms are equally well known, and proper in both dialects. So in 10, the
one says a collection of running water, the other, a little mass of
water. So in 13, the one says, literally, it will be a bad day; the
other, it will storm. So in 17, the one says strike-instrument; the
other swing-instrument. So in 20, one uses an affirmative particle, the
other says, certainly.
_31st_. Rev. Thomas Hulbert, of the Pic, on the north shores of Lake
Superior, writes about the orthography and principles of the Indian
languages. When this gentleman was on his way inland, he stopped at my
house, and evinced much interest in the oral traditions of the Indians,
as shown in _Algic Researches_, and presented me the conjugation of the
Indian verb "_to see_," filling many pages of an old folio account
book--all written in the wretched system of notation of Mr. Evans. I
stated to him the analytical mode which I had pursued in my lectures on
the structure of the languages, with the very best helps at St. Mary's;
and that I had found it to yield to this process--that the Algonquin
was, in fact, an aggregation of monasyllabic roots: that words and
expressions were formed entirely of a limited number of original roots
and particles, which had generic meanings. That new words, however
compounded, carried these meanings to the Indian ear, and were
understood by it in all possible forms of accretion and syllabication.
That the derivatives founded on these roots of one or two syllables,
could all be taken apart and put together like a piece of machinery.
That the principles were fixed, philosophical, and regular, and that,
although the language had some glaring defects, as the want of a
feminine pronoun, and many redundancies, they were admirably adapted to
describe geographical and meteorological scenes. That it was a language
of _woods and wilds_. That it failed to convey knowledge, only because
it had apparently never been applied to it. And that those philologists
who had represented it as an _agglutinated mass_, and capable of the
most recondite, pronominal, and tensal meanings, exceeding those of
Greece and Rome, had no clear conceptions of what they were speaking
of. That its principles are not, in fact, polysynthetic, but on the
contrary _unasynthetic_: its rules were all of one piece. That, in fine,
we should never get at the truth till we pulled down the, erroneous
fabric of the extreme polysynthesists, which was erected on materials
furnished by an excellent, but entirely unlearned missionary. But that
this could not be done now, such was the _prestige_ of names; and that
he and I, and all humble laborers in the field, must wait to submit our
views till time had opened a favorable door for us. It was our present
duty to accumulate facts, not to set up new theories, nor aim, by any
means, to fight these intellectual giants while we were armed but with
[Footnote 94: A Wesleyan missionary, some time at Port Sarnia, opposite
Fort Gratiot, Canada.]
Mr. Hurlbut entered into these views. He had now reflected upon them,
and he made some suggestions of philological value. He was an apt
learner of the language, as spoken north of the basin of Lake Superior.
"Orthography," he writes, "though of much importance, did not engage so
much of my attention as the construction of the language. I am not so
sanguine as to that performance (the conjugation of the verb _to see_)
as to be anxious to bring forward another. I am aware that an Indian
speaker, who had never studied his own language, would pronounce much of
that incorrect (in following a particular system imposed on him),
particularly in the characterizing (definitive) form, for in this
conjugation the root always undergoes a change. If the first syllable be
short, it is lengthened, as _be-moo-za, ba-moo-zad._ If it be long,
another is added, as _ouu-bet, ou-euu-bed._ But when a particle is
used, as is more generally the case, the root resumes its original form,
as _guu-ouu-bed._ I thought it best to preserve uniformity. I inserted a
note explaining this. Upon this, principle of euphony, Mr. Evans'
orthography will answer better than may at first appear. When the towel
is short, the final consonant is sharp, as _mek, muk, met_; but when the
vowel is long, it sounds like _meeg, seeg, neeg, nuug, meed_."
[Footnote 95: This is in Mr. Evans' System of Orthography.]
I had thought of making a collection of words, as a commencement for a
lexicon, but there are impediments in jay way for the present: 1st, I
want a plan; I want the opinion of those versed in the language, as two
roots frequently coalesce and form compound terms, and sometimes two
verbs and a noun amalgamate by clipping all; and it requires a skillful
hand to dissect them and show the originals. Should all these compound
terms be introduced (in the contemplated lexicon), it would swell the
work to a good size. If this be not done, _we must find some rule for
compounding the terms_, that the learner may be able to do it for
himself. This (the rule) I have not yet ascertained.
"I am favorably situated for making philological observations. I observe
that the Cree, although essentially the same language as the Chippewa,
yet drops, or never had, many of the suffix expletive particles of the
latter, though the prefix particles are pretty much the same in both.
The Cree has not, I believe, the double negative nor the adverbial and
plaintive forms of verbs, as I have termed them. This renders the
language less complex, and much more easy of acquisition than
"One thought was forcibly impressed on my mind while perusing the
publications of the American Antiquarian Society. In these publications
they introduce the names of things in order to show the affinity of
different tribes. From my knowledge of Indian, I am inclined to think
that the names of things change the soonest in any language, and that,
in order to ascertain the original stock of any tribe or nation by
comparing languages, we must descend to the groundwork of the languages
and search, not so much for similarity of sound as for the arrangement
and essential and peculiar principles of the languages.
"A principle that prevails in the American languages, as far as my
information extends, is, that the verb, with its nominative and
objective cases, be inseparably connected. The Delaware, the Chippewa
(under whatever name), and the Cree, &c., make the change in person,
number, &c., by a change in the prefix or suffix. But the Mohawk and
Chippewyan  make the change, in some cases, in the middle of the word,
when the Chippewa and others always remain unchanged."
[Footnote 96: It must be remembered that the Chippewas and Chippewyans,
are diverse tribes. The two words are both Chippewa; but the tribes are
of different groups. The one is ALGONQUIN; the other ATHAPASCA. The
Mohawk belongs to a third group of languages, namely, the IROQUOIS.]
Popular error respecting the Indian character and history--Remarkable
superstition--Theodoric--A missionary choosing a wild flower--Piety
and money--A fiscal collapse in Michigan--Mission of Grand
Traverse--Simplicity of the school-girl's hopes--Singular theory of the
Indians respecting story-telling--Oldest allegory on record--Political
aspects--Seneca treaty--Mineralogy--Farming and mission station on
1840. _Jan. 1st_. Having determined to pass another winter (some ten
weeks of which are past) at Mackinack, I have found my best and
pleasantest employment in my old resource, the investigation of the
Indian character and history. The subject is exhaustless in every branch
of inquiry, but the more it is turned over and sifted, the more cause
there is to see that there is error to be encountered at almost every
step. Travelers have been chiefly intent on the picturesque, and have
given themselves but little trouble to investigate. The historian has
had his mind full of prepossessions derived from ancient reading, and
has, generally, been seated three thousand miles across the water, where
the work of personal comparison was impossible. Left to the repose of
himself, mentally and physically, without being placed in the crucible
of war, without being made the tool of selfishness, or driven to a state
of half idiocy by the use of liquor, the Indian is a man of naturally
good feelings and affections, and of a sense of justice, and, although
destitute of an inductive mind, is led to appreciate truth and virtue as
he apprehends them. But he is subject to be swayed by every breath of
opinion, has little fixity of purpose, and, from a defect of business
capacity, is often led to pursue just those means which are least
calculated to advance his permanent interests, and his mind is driven to
and fro like a feather in the winds. _This_ man, and _that_ man, are
continually bringing up Indians to speak for some selfish object, which,
being a little out of sight, he does not perceive in its true light, but
which he nevertheless is soon made to comprehend, if a public agent
sets it plainly before him. But there is a perpetual watch necessary to
protect him from deception, and this necessity becomes stringent in the
exact proportion that a tribe has _funds_ or _treaty rights_ of any
kind. If these attempts to make the Indian a stalking-horse for masked
or misstated objects be independently met, and with just sentiments of
dissent, the agent of the government is liable to calumniation, and it
becomes the policy of unscrupulous men to get their affairs placed in
hands having less well-defined notions of moral right, or more easily
swayed in their opinions.
_7th_. The season of New-year has been as usual a holiday, that is to
say, a time of hilarity and good wishes, with the Indians in this
vicinity, numbers of which have visited the office.
_20th_. Some of the superstitions of the Indians are explicable only on
the ground of their belief in magic. An old blind man of Grand Traverse
Bay, called Ogimauwish (literally bad chief), referring to the early
period of the visits of Europeans to the continent, related the
When the whites first came to this country, wars and atrocious cruelties
existed between the new race of men and the Indians. When this animosity
began to abate, a treaty was held, which was attended by the Indians far
and wide. They were told by an interpreter, one of the white men who had
already learned their language, that the Indian tribes appeared, in the
eyes of white men, while in action, like the beasts of the forests and
the birds of prey, changing from one form to the other, and that the
bullets of the foreigners had no effect on them. The reason for this
exemption from harm was this:--
In those times the Indians made use of the Pazhikewash, or buffalo-weed,
which is still used by some of them to this day, especially on war
excursions. This made them invulnerable to balls. They made a liquor
from it, and sprinkled themselves and their implements, and carried it
in their meda bags. They are under the belief that this medicine not
only wards off the balls and missiles, but tends to make them invisible.
This, with their reliance on the guardian spirits of whom they have
dreamed at their initial fasts, throws around them a double influence,
making them both invisible and invulnerable.
There is a root used by the Pillagers, to which they attribute similar
protecting influences, or attribute the gift of courage in war. It is
called by them OZHIGAWAK.
_22d_. Theodoric (_vide ante_, April 19th,) writes me from Detroit in
terms of the kindest appreciation for my kindness of him. On his arrival
at Mackinack he most acceptably executed several trusts--writing a good
hand, being of gentlemanly manners and deportment, and an obliging
disposition, and withal a high moral tone of character--as the winter
drew on, I judged he would make a good representative for the county in
the legislature, and started him in political life. He received the
popular vote, and proceeded to the Capitol accordingly.
He writes: "I wish to say to you that my reception here, both in my
public and private capacity, has been all that my best friends could
desire, and far above what I had any reason to expect. I allude to this
subject because it furnishes me with an occasion to acknowledge my deep
indebtedness to your kindness, and it affords me pleasure to recognize
it, under God, as the chief instrument in conferring on me my present
advantages. And I assure you my great and constant anxiety shall be, so
to conduct myself as not to disappoint any expectations which you may
have been instrumental in raising in regard to me."
_28th_. A zealous and pious missionary of the Church of England came to
the Chippewas located on the left, or British, side of the St. Mary's
River some years ago, under the patronage of the ecclesiastical
authorities of Toronto. At this place he married one of the daughters of
the Woman of the Green Valley (Ozhawuscodawaqua) heretofore noticed as
the daughter of Wabojeeg. He now writes from Canada West: "Charlotte and
myself are very much obliged to you for your kind offer of assistance,
of which we will avail ourselves. Although I have now a promise of this
Rectory, or I may say, a former one has been confirmed by Bishop
Strachan two or three days ago."
_31st_. A friend--a trustee of one of the principal churches at Detroit,
writes: "You may think it strange that we of the first Protestant
Society of this city are not able to pay our very worthy and deserving
pastor, and so it is; but it is no less strange than true! Some of our
subscribers are dead; some have failed, and so they can pay nothing, and
others have left the country in search of a more congenial clime, and
those remaining and much difficulty in meeting their money engagements,
though nearly all are in the habit of attending the preaching of this
best of men, and we are driven to the necessity of making a call on you,
though at a distance.
"Mr. Duffield is continuing his Sunday evening lectures, with his
Thursday evening Bible class exercises, and they are constantly
increasing in interest. We think him a _wonder;_ he renders every
subject he touches, simple, and gives the doctrines he treats upon, what
the Scriptures pronounce them to be, 'A man, though a fool, need not
"Our legislature is moving on slowly; the shafts of wit wielded at each
other by ----, and ----, are, as the common phrase is, 'a caution;' it
requires a man of more than common discernment to see their point. You
have, doubtless, before this, seen the announcement of the appointment
of Hastings and Stuart, as Auditor and Treasurer; what will become of
the Internal Improvement system, is doubtful. Committees are now engaged
in examining the Bank of Michigan, and the Farmers' and
Another friend, who was _au fait_ on fiscal affairs (5th Feb.), says:
"We get on quite well. The legislative committee will be compelled to
state facts, and if they do nothing more they must give us a clean bill
of health. I miss you much this winter, and hope, if we are spared, you
will not immure yourself again so long."
The fiscal crisis that was now impending over Michigan, it was evident
was in the process of advance; but it was not possible to tell when it
would fall, nor with what severity. All had been
over-speculating--over-trading--over-banking, overdoing everything, in
short, that prudence should dictate. But the public were _in_ for it,
and could not, it seems, back out, and every one hoped for the best. My
best friends, the most cautious guides of my youth, had entered into the
speculating mania, and there appeared to be, in fact, nobody of means or
standing, who had been proof against the temptation of getting rich
soon. I "immured" myself far away from the scene of turmoil and strife,
and was happy so long as I kept my eyes on my books and manuscripts.
_Feb. 8th_. The mission recently established by the Presbyterian Board
at Grand Traverse Bay, flourishes as well as it is reasonable to expect.
Mr. Johnston writes: "The chief Kosa, and another Indian, have cut logs
sufficient for their houses. This finishes our pinery on this point. We
cannot now get timber short of the river on the south-east side of the
bay, or at the bottom of it, twelve miles distant. Mr. Dougherty has a
prayer meeting on Saturday night, and Bible class on Sabbath afternoon.
His meetings on Sunday are regularly attended by all the Indians who
spend the winter with us; they continue to manifest a kind feeling
towards us, and appear anxious to acquire useful knowledge."
_March 7th_. While politicians, financiers, speculators in real estate,
anxious holders of bank stock, and missionaries careful of the Indian
tribes are thus busy--each class animated by a separate hope--it is
refreshing to see that my little daughter (Jane) who writes under this
date from her school at Philadelphia, is striving after p's and g's. "I
am getting along in my studies very well. I love music as much as ever.
I like my French studies much. I have got all p's for my lessons, but
one g. G is for good, and p for perfect." What a pity that all classes
of adult men were not pursuing their g's and p's with equal simplicity
of emulation and purity of purpose.
_10th_. Prof. L. Fasquelle, of Livingston, transmits to me a translation
of the so-called "Pontiac manuscript." This document consists of an
ancient French journal, of daily events during the siege of the fort of
Detroit by that redoubtable chief and his confederates in 1763. It was
found in the garret of one of the French _habitants_, thrust away
between the plate and the roof; partly torn, and much soiled by rains
and the effects of time.
_13th_. The Chippewa Indians say that the woods and shores, bays and
islands, are inhabited by innumerable spirits, who are ever wakeful and
quick to hear everything during the summer season, but during the
winter, after the snow falls, these spirits appear to exist in a torpid
state, or find their abodes in inanimate bodies. The tellers of legends
and oral tales among them are, therefore, permitted to exercise their
fancies and functions to amuse their listeners during the winter season,
for the spirits are then in a state of inactivity, and cannot hear. But
their vocation as story tellers is ended the moment the spring opens.
The shrill piping of the frog, waking from his wintry repose, is the
signal for the termination of their story craft, and I have in vain
endeavored to get any of them to relate this species of imaginary lore
at any other time. It is evaded by some easy and indifferent remark.
But the true reason is given above. Young and old adhere to this
superstition. It is said that, if they violate the custom, the snakes,
toads, and other reptiles, which are believed to be under the influence
of the spirits, will punish them.
It is remarkable that this propensity of inventing tales and allegories,
which is so common to our Indians, is one of the most general traits of
the human mind. The most ancient effort of this kind by far, in the way
of the allegorical, is in the following words: "The Thistle that was in
Lebanon sent to the Cedar, saying, give thy daughter to my son to wife:
and there passed by a wild beast and trod down the Thistle." (2
Kings, xiv. 9.)
_April 5th_. A representative in Congress writes from Washington: "The
House moves very slowly in its business--that is, the business of the
nation. The principal object seems to be to make or unmake a President."
_6th_. The Rev. Benj. Dorr, of Christ Church, Philadelphia, commends to
my attentions a Mr. Wagner, a gentleman of intelligence, refinement, and
scientific tastes, who leaves that city on a tour to the lakes and St.
Anthony's Falls. "His object is to see as much as possible, in one
summer's tour, of our great Western World, and I hope he may stop a
short time at Mackinack, that he may have an opportunity of forming your
acquaintance, of seeing your beautiful island, and examining your
splendid cabinet of minerals, which would particularly interest him, as
he, has a taste for geological studies."
_8th_. Hon. A. Vanderpool, M.C. from N.Y., observes: "The Senate has, by
the casting vote of the Vice President, decided in favor of the Seneca
treaty, i.e., that the Indians shall be removed. Much opposition has
been made to the treaty, as you will perceive from the speech of Senator
Linn, which I send you."
It has been alleged against this treaty that it was carried through by
the zealous efforts of the persons holding (by an old compact) the
reversionary right to the soil after the Senecas should decide to leave
it, and that the obvious interests of these persons produced an undue
influence on this feature in the result. It is averred that the
Tonewonda band of the Senecas, who hold a separate and valuable
reservation on the banks of the Tonewonda River, opposed the proposition
altogether, and refused to place their signatures to the instrument.
It was supposed that small Indian communities, living on limited
reservations, surrounded entirely on all sides by white settlements,
could not sustain themselves, but must be inevitably swept away. But the
result, in the case of the Senecas and other remnants of the ancient
Iroquois, does not sustain this theory. It is true that numbers have
yielded to dissipation, idleness, and vice, and thus perished; but the
very pressure upon the mass of the tribes, and the danger of their
speedy destruction without resorting to agriculture, appear to have
brought out latent powers in the race which were not believed to exist.
They have taken manfully hold of the plough, cultivated crops of wheat
and corn, and raised horses, cattle, sheep, and hogs. They have adopted
the style of houses, fences, implements, carriages, dress, and, to some
extent, the language, manners, and modes of transacting business, of
their neighbors. And, perceiving their ability to sustain themselves by
cultivation and the arts, now turn round and solicit the protecting arms
of the State and General Government to permit them to develop their
industrial capacities. Too late, almost, they have been convinced of the
erroneous policy of their ancestors, &c. Every right-thinking man must
_May 12th_. Prof. Orren Root, of Syracuse Academy, New York, appeals to
me to contribute towards the formation of a mineralogical cabinet at
_30th_. The new farming station and mission for the Chippewas of Grand
Traverse Bay is successfully established. The Rev. Mr. Dougherty reports
that a school for Indian children has been well attended since November.
A blacksmith's shop is in successful operation. The U.S. Farmer reports
that he has just completed ploughing the Indian fields. He has put in
several acres of oats, and the corn is about six inches above the
ground. The Indians generally are making large fields, and have planted
more corn than usual, and manifest a disposition to become industrious,
and to avail themselves of the double advantage that is furnished them
by the Department of Indian Affairs and by the Mission Board which has
taken them in hand.
Death of Col. Lawrence Schoolcraft--Perils of the revolutionary
era--Otwin--Mr. Bancroft's history in the feature of its Indian
relations--A tradition of a noted chief on Lake Michigan--The collection
of information for a historical volume--Opinions of Mr. Paulding, Dr.
Webster, Mr. Duer, John Quincy Adams--Holyon and Alholyon--Family
monument--Mr. Stevenson, American Minister at London--Joanna
1840. _June 7th_. The first of June found me in Detroit, on my way to
Washington, where I was in a few days met by the appalling intelligence
of the death of my father (Col. Lawrence Schoolcraft), an event which
took place on this day at Vernon, Oneida County, New York. He had
reached his eighty-fourth year, and possessed a vigor of constitution
which promised longer life, until within a few days of his demise. A
dark spot appeared on one of his feet, which had, I think, been badly
gashed with an axe in early life. This discoloration expanded upwards in
the limb, and terminated in what appeared to be a dry mortification.
In him terminated the life of one of the most zealous actors in the
drama of the American Revolution, in which he was at various times a
soldier and an officer, a citizen and a civil magistrate. "Temperate,
ardent and active, of a mind vigorous and energetic, of a spirit bold
and daring, nay, even indomitable in its aspirations for freedom, he
became at once conspicuous among his brethren in arms, and a terror to
his country's foes." 
[Footnote 97: Nat. Intell. July 31, 1840.]
His grandfather was an Englishman, and had served with reputation under
the Duke of Marlborough in some of his famous continental battles, in
the days of Queen Anne, and he cherished the military principle with
great ardor. He spoke fluently the German and Dutch languages, and was
thus able to communicate with the masses of the varied population,
originally from the Upper Rhine and the Scheldt, who formed a large
portion of the inhabitants of the then frontier portions of Albany
County, including the wild and picturesque range of the Helderbergs and
of the new settlements of Schoharie, the latter being in immediate
contact with the Mohawk Iroquois. The influence of the British
government over this tribe, through the administration of Sir William
Johnson, was unbounded. Many of the foreign emigrants and their
descendants were also under this sway, and the whole frontier was
spotted with loyalists under the ever hateful name of Tories. These kept
the enemy minutely informed of all movements of the revolutionists, and
were, at the same time, the most cruel of America's foes, not excepting
the Mohawks. For the fury of the latter was generally in battle, but the
former exercised their cruelties in cold blood, and generally made
deliberate preparations for them, by assuming the guise of Indians. In
these infernal masks they gave vent to private malice, and cut the
throats of their neighbors and their innocent children. In such a
position a patriot's life was doubly assailed, and it was often the
price of it, to declare himself "a son of liberty," a term then often
used by the revolutionists.
He had just entered his seventeenth year when the war against the
British authorities in the land broke out, and he immediately declared
for it; the wealthy farmer (Swartz) with whom he lived, being one of the
first who were overhauled and "spotted" by the LOCAL COMMITTEE OF
SAFETY, who paraded through the settlement with a drum and fife. He was
at the disarming of Sir John Johnson, at Johnstown, under Gen. Schuyler,
where a near relative, Conrad Wiser, Esq., was the government
interpreter. He was at Ticonderoga when the troops were formed into
hollow square to hear the Declaration of Independence read. He marched
with the army that went to reinforce Gen. Montgomery, at Quebec, and was
one of the besieged in Fort Stanwix, on the source of the Mohawk, while
Gen. Burgoyne, with his fine army, was being drawn into the toils of
destruction by Gen. Schuyler, at Saratoga--a fate from which his
_supersedeas_ by Gen. Gates, the only unjust act of Washington, did not
The adventures, perils, and anecdotes of this period, he loved in his
after days to recite; and I have sometimes purposed to record them, in
connection with his name; but the prospect of my doing so, while still
blessed with an excellent memory, becomes fainter and fainter.
_8th_. Otwin (_vide ante_) writes from La Pointe, in Lake Superior, in
the following terms:--
"I often look back to the happy days I spent in your family, and feel
grateful in view of them. A thousand blessings rest on your head, my
dear friend, and that of your wife, for all your kindness to me, when
first a stranger in a distant land. I cannot reward you, but know that
you will be rewarded at the resurrection of the just."
_9th_. "I know of no good reason," says a correspondent, "why a man
should not, at all times, stand ready to sustain the truth." This is a
maxim worthy Dr. Johnson; but the experience of life shows that such
high moral independence is rare. Most men will speak out, and even
vindicate the truth, _sometimes_. But the worldling will stand mute, or
_evade_ its declaration, whenever his interests are to be unfavorably
affected by it.
I reached Washington on public business during the heats of June, and,
coming from northern latitudes, felt their oppressiveness severely.
_27th_. Mr. Bancroft, the historian, pursues exactly the course he
should, to ferret out all facts, new and old. He does not hold himself
too dignified to pick up information, or investigate facts, whenever and
wherever he can find them. In what he has to say about the Indians, a
subject that lies as a superstratum under his work, he is anxious to
hear all that can be said. "Let me hear from you," he adds in a letter
of this date, "before you go back. I want to consult you on my chapter
about the Indians, and for that end should like to send you a copy
The chief, Eshquagonaby, of Grand Traverse Bay, Lake Michigan, relates
the following traditions: When Gezha Manido (the Good Spirit) created
this island (continent), it was a perfect plain, without trees or
shrubs. He then created an Indian man and woman. When they had
multiplied so as to number ten persons, death happened. At this the man
lamented, and went to and fro over the earth, complaining. Why, he
exclaimed, did the Good Spirit create me to know death and misery so
soon? The Good Spirit heard this, and, after assembling his angels to
counsel, said to them, What shall we do to better the condition of man?
I have created him frail and weak. They answered, O, Good Spirit, thou
hast created us, and thou art everlasting, and knowest all things; thou
alone knowest what is best.
Six days were given to this consultation. During this time not a breath
of wind blew to disturb the waters. This is now called _unwatin_ (a
calm). On the seventh day not a cloud was seen; the sky was blue and
serene. This is called _nageezhik_ (excellent day) by the Indians.
During this day he sent down a messenger, placing in his right bosom a
piece of white hare skin, and in his left, part of the head of the
white-headed eagle. Both these substances had a blue stripe on them of
the nature and substance of the blue sky, being symbols of peace.
The messenger said to the man that complained: "Your words are heard,
and I am come from the Good Spirit with good words. You must conform
yourself to his commands. I bring pieces of the white hare skin and the
white eagle's head, which you must use in your MEDAWA (religico-medical
rites), and whatsoever is asked on those occasions will be granted, and
long life given to the sick." The messenger also gave them a white otter
skin, with a blue stripe painted on the back part of the head. Other
ceremonial rites and directions were added, but these may suffice to
indicate the character of Mr. Eshquagonaby's tradition, which has just
been sent to me.
_July 1st_. I was now anxious to collect materials for the publication
of a volume of collections by the Michigan Historical Society, and
addressed several gentlemen of eminence on the subject. Mr. J. K.
Paulding, Sec. of the Navy (July 9th), pleads official engagements as
preventing him from doing much in the literary way while thus employed.
Dr. Noah Webster, of New Haven, expresses his interest in the history of
the country generally, and his willingness to contribute to the
collection and preservation of passing materials. "In answer to the
request for aid in collecting national documents, I can sincerely say it
will give me pleasure to lend any aid in my power. Respecting the State
of Michigan, I presume I could furnish nothing of importance. Respecting
the history of our government for the last fifty years, I might be able
to add something to the stock of information possessed by the present
generation, for I find men in middle life absolutely ignorant of some
material facts which have a bearing on our political concerns. But
little can be expected, however, from a man of _eighty-two,_ whose toils
must be drawing to a close."
The Hon. John A. Duer, Prest. Col. College (July 15th), while expressing
a sympathy in the object, declares himself too much occupied in the
duties of his charge to permit him to hold forth any promise of
usefulness in the case specified.
Hon. John Quincy Adams forwarded, with the expression of his interest in
the subject, twelve pamphlets of historical value, the titles of each of
which he carefully recites in his letter. "It will give me much
pleasure," he says, "to transmit to the society, when it may be in my
power, any of the articles pertaining to the history of the country and
mentioned in your letter, as suited to promote the purposes for which it
From other quarters and observers less absorbed in the discharge of
specific functions, I received several valuable manuscript
communications, chiefly relative, to transactions on the frontiers or to
_22d_. Two half-breeds from the upper lakes, whom I shall designate
Holyon and Alholyon, made their way to the seat of government during the
winter of 1840. Holyon had been dismissed for improper conduct from the
office of Indian interpreter at Mackinack about May. Alholyon had been
frustrated in two several attempts to get himself recognized as head
chief by the Ottawas, and consequently to some influence in the use of
the public funds, which were now considerable. One was of the Chippewa,
the other of the Ottawa stock. Holyon was bold and reckless, Alholyon
more timid and polite, but equally destitute of moral principles. They
induced some of the Indians to believe that, if furnished by them with
funds, they could exercise a favorable influence at Washington, in
regard to the sale of their lands. The poor ignorant Indians are easily
hoodwinked in matters of business. At the same time they presented, in
secret council, a draft for $4000 for their services, which they induced
some of the chiefs to sign. This draft they succeeded in negotiating to
some merchant for a small part of its value. No sooner had they got to
head-quarters, and found they were anticipated in the _draft matter_,
and the _project of a chieftainship_, by letters from the agent, than
they drew up a long list of accusations against him, containing every
imaginable and abominable abuse of office. This was presented at the
Indian office, where its obvious character should have, it would seem,
been at once suspected. The head of that Bureau, who began to see from
the strong political demonstrations around him, "how the cat was about
to jump," acceded to a request of Holyon and Alholyon, that the matter
be referred for local examination to one or two of their personal
advisers inland. This step (in entire ignorance of the private relations
of the parties, it must be presumed,) was assented to. In a letter of
Holyon to J.L.S., of May 19th, 1840, he says: "The department was
predisposed against him (the agent), and wanted only a cause to proceed
against him." But it left a stain on its fairness and candor by omitting
the usual course of furnishing the agent a copy of the charges and
requesting his attention thereto, or even of informing him of the
pendency of an investigation. As the charges were entirely unfounded,
and had been the diseased imaginings of disappointed and unprincipled
minds, it only put the agent to the necessity of confronting his
assailants, and with every advantage of accusers, examiners and the
appellant power against him, he was triumphantly acquitted, by an
official letter, of every charge whatever, and of every moral imputation
of wrong. "Should thy lies make men hold their peace? and when thou
mockest, shall no man make thee ashamed?" (Job xi. 3.)
_24th_. I left Washington for the north, taking my children along from
their respective schools at Philadelphia and Brooklyn, for their summer
vacation, and only halting long enough at Utica and Vernon, to direct a
marble monument to be erected to the memory of my father. The site
selected for this was the cemetery on the Scanado (usually spelled
without regard however to the popular pronunciation _Skenandoah_),
Vernon. It appeared expedient to make this a family monument, and I
directed the several faces to be inscribed as follows:--
THIS MONUMENT IS ERECTED
In memory of
A FATHER, A MOTHER AND A SISTER,
By the surviving children.
* * * * *
COLONEL LAWRENCE SCHOOLCRAFT,
A soldier of the Revolution of 1776,
(He being the second in descent from James,
who came from England in the reign of Queen Anne,)
Born Feb. 3d, 1757. Died June 7th, 1840,
In his 84th year.
He lived and died a patriot, a Christian, and an honest man.
* * * * *
MARGARET ANN BARBARA,
Consort of Col. Lawrence Schoolcraft,
Died Feb. 16th, 1832, aged 72.
"Her children rise up and call her blessed."--PROV.
* * * * *
MISS MARGARET HELEN,
Daughter of Lawrence and Margaret Ann Barbara Schoolcraft,
Born 18th June, 1806
Died 12th April, 1829, in her 23d year.
I reached Detroit early in August. A letter from Mackinack, of the 13th
of that month, says: "The children arrived at midnight past, safe and
sound, and they seem quite delighted. Eveline seems to be the centre of
attraction with them all. I have not a word new to say. A change has
come over the spirit of our notables. Samuel, the day before your letter
was received, expressed his opinion, that 'it would go hard with you.' A
dog when he supposes himself unnoticed in the act of stealing, looks
mean, but when he is _discovered_ in the act, he looks meaner still. And
I know of no better comparison than _this_ clique, and _that_ dog."
_24th_. Hon. Andrew Stevenson, American Minister in London, responds to
my inquiries on certain historical points, respecting which he has
kindly charged his agent to institute inquiries.
_Sept. 5th_. I reached the agency at Mackinack about the beginning of
September. Facilis, a young man of equally ready and respectable
talents, writes me, from Detroit, under this date, expressing a wish to
be employed in the execution of some of the fiscal duties of the
superintendency during the season. "I write to you," he adds, "as a
friend. Times are hard, and every little that is directed to aid one in
his efforts to stem the current of life, possesses an incalculable
value." I yielded the more readily to this request from the chain of
circumstances which, however favorable, had hitherto disappointed his
most ardent aims and the just expectations of his friends.
_11th_. Joanna Baillie, the celebrated authoress, who has spent a long
life in the most honorable and deeply characteristic literary labors,
writes from her residence at Hampstead (Eng.), as if with undiminished
vigor of hope, expressing her interest in the progress of historical
letters in this (to her) remote part of the world. How much closer bonds
these literary sympathies are in drawing two nations of a kindred blood
together, than dry and formal diplomatics, in which it is the object, as
Talleyrand says, of human language to conceal thought!
_Oct. 16th_. Wisconsin is slowly, but surely, filling up with a healthy
population, and founding her moral, as well as political institutions,
on a solid basis. Rev. Jer. Porter, my old friend during the interesting
scenes at St. Mary's, in 1832 and 1833, writes me, that, after passing a
few years in Illinois, he has settled at Green Bay, as the pastor of a
healthful and increasing church. "I have recently," he writes, "made an
excursion on horseback, in the interior of the territory. I traveled
about 400 miles, being from home sixteen days. I went to meet a
convention of ministers and delegates from Presbyterian and
Congregational churches, to see if we could form a union of the two
denominations in the territory, so that we might have a perfect
co-operation in every good work. We had twelve ministers of these
denominations present, all but four or five now in the territory, and
were so happy as to form a basis of union, which will, I trust, prove
permanent, and be a great blessing to our churches. This seems to us a
very favorable beginning.
"I find the beautiful prairies of the interior rapidly settling with a
very good population from the Eastern States, and the healthiness of the
country gives it some advantages over Illinois. With the blessing of the
Lord, I think this may yet be one of the best States in the Union."
_20th_. The Rev. Henry Kearney, of Kitternan Glebe, Dublin (Ireland),
communicates notices of some of the inroads made by death on the rank of
our friends and relatives in that land. "Since my last, the valued
friend of the family, the Right Hon'ble Wm. Saurin (late
Attorney-General) was removed from this world of changes to the world of
durable realities. He was past eighty. The bishop (Dromore) is still
alive, not more than a year younger than his brother. Old age--found in
the ways of righteousness--how honorable!
"You will have learned, from the European newspapers, the agitated state
of all the countries from China to Great Britain. Is the Lord about to
bring to pass the predicted days of retribution on the nations for
abused responsibility, and the restoration of the ancient nation of
Israel, to be, once more, the depository of his judgment and truth for
the recovery of all nations to the great principles of government and
religion taught us in His holy word?"
_Nov. 1st_. Having concluded the Indian business in the Upper Lakes for
the season, I returned with my family to Detroit, and employed my
leisure in literary investigations.
_Dec. 3d_. Mr. Josiah Snow apprizes me that he is about, in a few weeks,
to issue the first number of a newspaper devoted to agriculture, in
which he solicits my aid.
_15th_. J. K. Tefft, Esq., of Savannah, informs me of my election, on
the 9th Sept. last, as an honorary member of the Georgia
_19th_. I wrote the following lines in memory of my father:--
The drum no more shall rouse his heart to beat with patriot fires,
Nor to his kindling eye impart the flash of martial ires:
Montgomery's fall, Burgoyne's advance, awake no transient fear;
E'en joy be dumb that noble France grasped in our cause the spear.
The cloud that, lowering northward spread, presaging woe and blight,
In that wild host St. Leger led, no longer arm for fight;
The bomb, the shell, the flash, the shot, the sortie, and the roar,
No longer nerve for battle hot--the soldier is no more.
But long shall memory speak his praise, and mark the grave that blest,
When eighty years had crowned his days, he laid him down to rest;
The stone that marks the sylvan spot, the line that tells his name,
The stream, the shore; be ne'er forgot, and freedom's be his fame.
'Twas liberty that fired him first, when kings and tyrants plan'd,
And proud oppression's car accurst, drove madly o'er the land;
And long he lived when that red car--the driver and the foe
Unhorsed in fight, o'ermatched in war--laid impotent and low.
He told his children oft the tale--how tyrants would have bound,
And murderous yells filled all the vale, and blood begrimed the ground.
They loved the story of the harms that patriot hands repelled,
And glowed with ire of wars and arms, and fast the words they held.
The right, the power, the wealth, the fame, for which the valiant fought,
Have long been ours in deed and name--life, liberty, and thought;
And while we hold these blessings, bought with valor, blood, and thrall,
Embalmed in thought be those who fought and freely periled all.
_23d_. The Detroit Branch of the University of Michigan organized, and
the Principal sends me a programme of its studies. Mr. Williams also
sends me the programme of the Pontiac Branch.
_31st_. "We were in hopes," says James L. Schoolcraft, in a letter from
Mackinack, "of seeing a steamboat up during the fine weather in the
latter part of November. It is now, however, since 14th inst., cold.
Theodoric has undertaken to conduct a weekly paper, the _Pic Nic_,
which, thus far, goes off well. Lieut. Pemberton, in the fort, is
engaged in getting up a private theatre. Thus, you see, we endeavor to
ward off winter and solitude in various ways. The rats are playing the
devil with your house. I have removed all the bedding. They have injured
some of your books."
Philology of the Indian tongues--Its difficulties--Belles
lettres and money--Michigan and Georgia--Number of species in
natural history--Etymology--Nebahquam's dream--Trait in Indian
legends--Pictography--Numeration of the races of Polynesia and the Upper
Lakes--Love of one's native tongue--Death of Gen. Harrison--Rush for
office on his inauguration--Ornamental and shade trees--Historical
collections--Mission of "Old Wing."
1841. _Jan. 12th_. The Rev. Thomas Hulbert, of Pic, Lake Superior, who
has studied the Chippewa language, says: "I fully concur in your remarks
on the claims of philology. Circumstances may be easily conceived in
which the missionary could in no way serve the cause of Christianity so
effectually as by the study of barbarous languages. His primary object,
it is true, is Christian instruction; but he would, at the same time,
serve the cause of science, by assisting in the advance of comparative
philology. In this light I view your _Algic, Researches_, which I
consider a valuable acquisition to the missionary, as it introduces him
into the stronghold of Indian prejudices. The introductory remarks I
studied with peculiar interest.
"I find the principal difficulty in getting at the principles of the
language to be in the compounds. I have long thought upon the subject,
but have as yet ascertained no rule to guide me. However, I do not
despair. If it cannot be taken by a '_coup de main_,' patience and
perseverance may in the end prevail. I intend to bend my mind to this
subject for the future. It will probably require much research to settle
this matter. There are some compounds that I form readily, in others I
fail. I have not observed anything in the language like the rythmatic
flow of Greek and Latin poetry; there is no alternation of long and
short syllables; some words are composed entirely of long syllables,
others of short ones, but generally there is at least one of each in
"I have nothing in the shape of Indian poetry or hieroglyphics, neither
have I seen the rocks you mention south-east of this place, but I have
heard of them. All their traditions, or comic and tragic lore, should be
collected, though it could not all be published in consequence of its
obscenity. Almost all the _Ah-te-soo-kaum_ I have heard, has had more or
less of this ingredient."
Those who contend for a Welsh element in the languages of the American
stocks, find little or no support in modern vocabularies.
ENGLISH. GERMAN. WELSH. ALGONQUIN.
Fire, Feuer, Tan, Schoda.
Water, Wasser, Duel, Neebi.
Earth, Erde, Daal, Aki.
Wind, Wind, Gwint, Noden.
Sky, Volka, Avere, Geezhikud.
Sea, Meer, More, Gitchigomi.
Book, Buch, Llyfer, Muzzenyegun.
This topic requires, however, to be investigated on a broad scale. It is
merely adverted to here. It is among the western nations that inquiries
should be extended.
_Feb. 4th_. I received a diploma of membership from the Georgia
Historical Society, forwarded in accordance with a previous notice; and
a few days after, through the medium of the Hon. A.S. Porter, the first
volume of their transactions. Southern zeal quite outdoes us, in our
literary efforts here of late. The truth is, men have speculated so
wildly, they have no money to devote to historical or literary plans. A
correspondent writes me (Feb. 12th) on these visionary plans of
"H. wants me to go farther in the Cass Front; But I am determined to
fall in the rear, as I have written to him. For the last three years I
have been going on the Dutch plan, which, had I always pursued, I should
now have had $10,000 in gold in my trunk, instead of having ten thousand
trunks full of _ground_."
_7th_. Dick says that there are about 60,000 species in the animal
kingdom. Of these, 600 species are mammalia, or sucklings, mostly
four-footed; 4,000 birds, 3,000 fish, 700 reptiles, 44,000 insects,
about 3,000 shell fish, and 80 to 100,000 animalcula, invisible to the
naked eye. Perhaps these species may reach to 300,000 altogether. Yet
here are no estimates for plants, ferns, mosses, madrepores, extinct
fossil species, minerals and rocks. What a field for the naturalist! Yet
Pope could exclaim--
"Say what the use, were finer optics given,
T' inspect a mite--not comprehend the heaven."
We are, in fact, equally and as much in want of microscopic and
_20th_. An Indian, a Chippewa, recently visited the office, whose name
is Nageezhik. This is one of the simplest compounds. I spent some time,
however, with the man and his companions to get its exact etymology.
_Geezhik_ is the sky, or visible firmament, seen through the clouds. The
word denotes two phenomena: first, something visible to the eye that is
fixed and does not move, which is implied by the root _geezh_, and the
inflection _ik_, which seems applicable to all inanimate substances, to
denote the fact of their substantivity. The sky is thus described
apparently as a created, or made thing. _Na_ (the _aa_ in Aaron) is a
qualifying particle of very general use. It appears to place substances
to which it is affixed in a superlative sense, and always as exalting
the object. Thus its meaning may be fair, admirable, or excellent.
Applied to geezhik, it implies an excellent quality in only one sense,
that is excellent or fair, for a spot on the blue profound, of which
geezhik is the description. For fairness or excellence cannot exist, or
be described in their language, unless seen plainly by the eye. It is
the spot made by a small cloud that makes it excellent or fair. The
meaning is the fair or excellent (spot) on the sky.
_March 1st_. Madwaybuggashe, a Chippewa Indian, of Grand Traverse Bay,
Lake Michigan, related the following dream of Nebahquam, an Indian who
recently died at that place:--
Nebahquam dreamed that he saw a white man coming towards him, who said,
You are called. He replied, Where am I called? The white man pointed to
a straight path, leading south-east. Follow that. Nebahquam obeyed and
followed it, till he came to a thick wooded country through which the
path led. He soon came to stumps of trees newly cut down, and afterwards
heard a cock crowing. He next passed through a new town, where he was
inclined to stop, but was told to go on. Again the cock crew. He next
came to an immense plain, through which his path led straight forward
for some time, till he came to the foot of a ladder. He was told to
ascend this, but it reached up as he went, till, looking back, he had a
wide bird's-eye view of towns, cities, and villages. He continued to go
up until he reached the skies. Here stood another white man, who told
him to look round a new earth. There were four splendid houses. His
guide told him to enter one of these. As he got near it, a door opened,
and he entered into a splendid apartment where four white men were
seated. Two of these had heads white as snow. They spoke to him saying,
Here is the place to which you are called. No Indian has ever reached
here before. Few white men come here. Look down and behold the bones of
those who have attempted to ascend, bleaching at the foot of the ladder.
The two venerable men then gave him a bright-red deer's tail, and an
eagle's feather, which he was directed to wear on his head; they were
talismans that would protect him from peril and danger, and insure him
the favor of the Master of Life. Both white and red men could have
reached the place, they continued, but for refusing to receive Him who
was sent to save them, and for reviling and killing him. Look around
again, they continued to say, and he saw animals and birds of every kind
in abundance. These are for the red men, and are placed here to show the
peculiar care of the Great Spirit for them.
Nebahquam was a Roman Catholic, and died in that faith. But he said that
he had heard the dream in his youth, and he regarded it as sacred. Such
are the blendings of superstition and religion in the Indian mind.
_3d_. Some of the incidents of the fictitious legends of the Indians
teach lessons which would scarcely be expected. Manibozho, when he had
killed a moose, was greatly troubled as to the manner in which he should
eat the animal. "If I begin at the head," said he, "they will say I eat
him head first. If I begin at the side, they will say I eat him
sideways. If I begin at the tail, they will say I eat him tail first."
While he deliberated, the wind caused two limbs of a tree that touched
to make a harsh creaking noise. "I cannot eat with this noise," said he,
and immediately climbed the tree to prevent it, where he was caught by
the arm and held fast between the two trees. Whilst thus held, a pack of
hungry wolves came that way and devoured the carcass of the moose
before his eyes.
The listener to the story is plainly taught to draw this conclusion: If
thou hast meat in thy wanderings, trouble not thyself as to little
things, nor let trifles disturb thy temper, lest in trying to rectify
small things thou lose greater ones.
_13th_. Some years ago, a Chippewa hunter of Grand Traverse Bay, Lake
Michigan, found that an Indian of a separate band had been found
trespassing on his hunting grounds by trapping furred animals. He
determined to visit him, but found on reaching his lodge the family
absent, and the lodge door carefully closed and tied. In one corner of
the lodge he found two small packs of furs. These he seized. He then
took his hatchet and blazed a large tree. With a pencil made of a burned
end of a stick, he then drew on this surface the figure of a man holding
a gun, pointing at another man having traps in his hands. The two packs
of furs were placed between them. By these figures he told the tale of
the trespass, the seizure of the furs, and the threat of shooting him if
he persevered in his trespass. This system of figurative symbols I am
inclined to call pictography, as it appears to me to be a peculiar and
characteristic mode of picture-writing.
_22d_. Mr. Ellis, in his Polynesian Researches, represents the Pacific
Islands as being inhabited by two distinct races of men, each of whom
appears to preserve the separate essential marks of a physical and
mental type. The first, which is thought the most ancient, consists of
the Oceanic negroes, who are distinguished by dark skins, small stature,
and woolly or crisped hair. They are clearly Hametic. They occupy
Australia, and are found to be aborigines in Tasmania, New Guinea, New
Britain, New Caledonia and New Hebrides. The other race has many of the
features of the Malays and South Americans, yet differs materially
Yet what is most remarkable, the latter have an ingenious system of
numeration, by which they can compute very high numbers. They proceed by
decimals, precisely like the Algonquin tribes, but while the
arithmetical theory is precisely the same, a comparison shows that the
names of the numerals have not the slightest resemblance.
One, Atabi, Pazhik.
Two, Arua, Neezh.
Three, Atora, Niswi.
Four, Amaha, Newin.
Five, Arima. Nanun.
Six, Aono, Ningodwaswa.
Seven, Ahitu, Nizhwaswa.
Eight, Avaru, Schwaswa.
Nine, Aiva, Shonguswa.
Ten, Ahuru, Metonna.
The Polynesians, like the Algonquins, then say, ten and one for eleven,
&c., till twenty, which is _erua ahuru_, this is two tens; twenty-one
consists of the terms for two tens and one. In this manner they count to
ten tens, which is _rau_. Ten _raus_ is one _mano_, or thousand; ten
_manos_ one million, and so on. How exactly the Algonquin method, but
not a speck of analogy in words.
_27th_. One of the emigrant Germans who swarm about the city, a poor
ill-dressed wood-sawyer, met me, on coming out of my office door, and,
mistaking me for the owner of a visible pile of wood, addressed me in
one of the Rhine dialects, inquiring the owner. I replied: _Ich wies
necht--es is necht mein_. He looked with delighted astonishment at an
American speaking his language--"a stranger in a strange land"--and was
ready to proffer any services in his power.
_April 4th_. A friend from Lancaster, in Pennsylvania, writes: "It was
my luck to be called to Washington the latter part of February, and to
be detained until the 11th ultimo, and in that great city business
occupied my attention all the time. The congregation of strangers from
all parts of the Union was immense; the number estimated at fifty
thousand. Thirty thousand of them, at least, expectants, or thinking
themselves worthy of office. But, alas! for the ingratitude of man, they
were, almost to a man, sent home without getting their share of the
pottage.... There has yet been no change in the head of the Indian
Bureau, although there are three candidates in the field.
"I have just heard the rumor of the death of Gen. Harrison (the
newly-elected President of U.S.), and, upon inquiry, find that it is
well founded. It is said that he died last night at twelve o'clock. He
has been suffering for a week past with a severe attack of pneumonia, or
bilious pleurisy. Should this be so, it will make a great change in
the political destiny of the country for four years to come. Mr. Tyler
is a southern man with southern principles, rather a conservative,
opposed to a heavy tariff, if in favor of any. There will be a different
policy pursued, and you will find great disappointment and confusion. He
is not a man who will pursue a proscriptive course in turning out and
putting into office, but who will go upon the great principle of the
Virginia school in regard to office-holders. 'Is he honest? Is he
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