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under Major-General Harrison, the evacuation of Detroit, Amherstburg, &c. became unavoidable. Te-cum-seh at first refused to consent to any retrogade movement,, and taunted the British commander, Proctor, with promoting the destruction of the Indians; but he was finally prevailed upon to accompany the troops with his warriors. They retreated along the banks of the river Thames, and were pursued and overtaken near the Moravian village, eighty miles from Sandwich, by Harrison, with about three thousand' men. When compelled to give battle, on the 5th of October, Major-General Proctor could only muster about six hundred regulars, and rather more than the same number of Indians. The former were posted in single files in two lines, their left resting on the river, their right on a narrow swamp, beyond which were the Indians, reaching obliquely backwards to a second and much broader swamp, so that neither flank of the allies could be easily turned. The enemy commenced the attack with a regiment of mounted riflemen, the ilite of their army, formed into two divisions of five hundred men each, one of which charged the regulars with great impetuosity, while the latter advanced with a company of foot against the Indians. The regulars, dissatisfied by fancied or real neglect, and dispirited by long continued exposure and privation, made but a very feeble resistance; their ranks were pierced and broken, and being placed between two fires, they immediately surrendered, with the trifling loss of twelve killed and twenty-two wounded. But "the contest with the Indians on the left was more obstinate. They reserved their fire, till the heads of the columns, and the front line on foot, had approached within a few paces of their position. A very destructive fire was then commenced by them, about the time the firing ceased between the British and first battalion. Colonel Johnson finding his advanced guard, composing the head of his column, nearly all cut down by the first fire, and himself severely wounded, immediately ordered his columns to dismount and come up in line before the enemy, the ground which they occupied being unfavorable for operations on horseback. The line was promptly formed on foot, and a fierce conflict was then maintained, for seven or eight minutes, with considerable execution on both, sides; but the Indians had not sufficient firmness to sustain very long a fire which was close, and warm, and severely destructive. They gave way and fled through the brush into the outer swamp, not however before they had learnt the total discomfiture of their allies, and had lost by the fall of Te-cum-seh, a chief in whom
were united the prowess of Achilles and authority of Agamemnon."* These gallant warriors did not, however, give way until Te-cum-seh was shot dead in the act of advancing to close with Colonel Johnson, who, although wounded, continued on horseback, animating his men, and they retired slowly, disputing the ground with much obstinacy for some distance. They left thirty-three slain on the field, besides many killed in the retreat.
Te-cum-seh was slain in his forty-fourth year, and of the many Indian chiefs who distinguished themselves in the wars of the whites, he was undoubtedly the greatest since the days of Pontiac.f In early life he was addicted to inebriety, the prevailing vice of the Indians, but his good sense and resolution conquered the habit, and, in his later years, he was remarkable for temperance. Glory became his ruling passion, and in its acquisition he was careless of wealth, as, although his presents and booty must have been of considerable value, he preserved little or nothing for himself. In height he was five feet ten inches, well formed, and capable of enduring fatigue in an extraordinary degree. His carriage was erect and commanding, and there was an air of hauteur in his countenance, arising from an elevated pride of soul, which did not forsake it when life was extinct. He was habitually taciturn, but when excited, his eloquence was nervous, concise, and figurative, as will be seen by the subjoined specimens, suffering as they do under all the disadvantages of translation. His dress was plain, and he was never known to indulge in the gaudy decoration of his person, which is the common practice of the Indians. On the day of his death, he wore a dressed deer skin coat and pantaloons. He was present in almost every action against the Americans, from the period of Harmer's defeat, to the battle of the Thames,—was several times wounded,—and always sought the hottest of the fire. After the victory, his lifeless corpse was viewed with great interest by the American officers, who declared that the contour of his features was majestic even in death. And notwithstanding it is said by an American writer, that "some of the Kentuckians disgraced themselves by committing indignities on his dead body. He was scalped, and otherwise disfigured."
* American History.
t Mrs. Grant, in her "Memoirs of an American Lady," in the second volume, describes the deeds of Pondiac, as she spells his name, who, in 1764, waged war against the British in Canada, and nearly captured Detroit by surprise. Before the captiire of Quebec, by Wolfe, in 1759, his alliance was anxiously courted both by the French and English.—Ed.
Extract from "Hunter's Memoirs of a Captivity among the Indians of North America."—London, 1824.
"In the following spring, a party of thirty hunters and six or seven squaws started on a visit to some of their connections, who remained at the Osage towns on the Grand Osage river,* taking me with them. Our course was up the Arkansas for a considerable distance; thence across the highlands, till we struck the head waters of the Grand Osage river, which we descended, to the village belonging to Clermont, or the Builder of Towns, a celebrated Osage chief. We remained among the Grand Osages, till early in the next fall. During our stay, I saw a number of white people, who, from different motives, resorted to this nation: among them, was a clergyman, who preached several times to the Indians through an interpreter. He was the first Christian preacher that I had ever heard or seen. The Indians treated him with great respect, and listened to his discourses with profound attention; but could not, as I heard them observe, comprehend the doctrines he wished to inculcate. It may be appropriately mentioned here, that the Indians are accustomed, in their own debates, never to speak but one at a time; while all others, constituting the audience, invariably listen with patience and attention till their turn to speak arrives. This respect is more particularly observed towards strangers; and the slightest deviation from it would be regarded by them as rude, indecorous, and highly offensive. It is this trait in the Indian character which many of the missionaries mistake for a serious impression made on their minds; and which has led to many exaggerated accounts of their conversion to Christianity.
"Some of the white people whom I met, as before noticed, among the Osages, were traders, and others were reputed to be runners from their Great Father beyond the great waters, to invite the Indians to take up the tomahawk against the settlers. They made many long talks, and distributed many valuable presents; but without being able to shake the resolution which the Osages had formed, to preserve peace with their Great Father, the President. Their determinations were, however, to undergo a more severe trial: Te-cum-seh, the celebrated Shawanee warrior and chief, in company with Francis the prophet, now made his appearance among them.
* "To understand this subject fully, it should be borne in mind that a part of the Osages, not long since, with the chiefs Big Track and White Hair for their leaders, had separated from the Grand Osage nation, settled on the Arkansas river, and sustained their independence.
"He addressed them in long, eloquent, and pathetic strains y and an assembly, more numerous than had ever been witnessed on any former occasion, listened to him with an intensely agitated, though profoundly respectful interest and attention. In fact, so great was the effect produced by Te-cum-seh's eloquence, that the chiefs adjourned the council, shortly after he had closed his harangue; nor did they finally come to a decision on the great question in debate for several days afterwards.
"I wish it was in my power to do justice to the eloquence of this distinguished man: but it is utterly impossible. The richest colours, shaded with a master's pencil, would fall infinitely short of the glowing finish of the original. The occasion and subject were peculiarly adapted to call into action all the powers of genuine patriotism; and such language, such gestures, and such feelings and fulness of soul contending for utterance, were exhibited by this untutored native of the forest in the central wilds of America, as no audience, I am persuaded, either in ancient or modern times, ever before witnessed.
"My readers may think some qualification due to this opinion; but none is necessary. The unlettered Te-cum-seh gave extemporaneous utterance only to what he felt; it was a simple, but vehement narration of the wrongs imposed by the white people on the Indians, and an exhortation for the latter to resist them. The whole addressed to an audience composed of individuals who had been educated to prefer almost any sacrifice to that of personal liberty, and even death to the degradation of their nation; and who, on this occasion, felt the portraiture of Te-cum-seh but too strikingly identified with their own condition, wrongs, and sufferings.
"This discourse made an impression on my mind, which, I think, will last as long as I live. I cannot repeat it verbatim, though if I could, it would be a mere skeleton, without the rounding finish of its integuments: it would only be the shadow of the substance; because the gestures, and the interest and feelings excited by the occasion, and which constitute the essentials of its character, would be altogether wanting. Nevertheless, I shall, as far as my recollection serves, make the attempt, and trust to the indulgence of my readers for an apology for the presumptuous digression,.
"When the Osages and distinguished strangers had assembled, Te-cum-seh arose; and after a pause of some minutes, in which he surveyed his audience in a very dignified, though respectfully complaisant and sympathizing manner, he commenced as follows:
"' Brothers,—We all belong to one family; we are all children of the Great Spirit; we walk in the same path; slake our thirst at the same spring; and now affairs of the greatest concern lead us to smoke the pipe around the same council fire!
"'Brothers,—We are friends; we must assist each other to bear our burdens. The blood of many of our fathers and brothers has run like water on the ground, to satisfy the avarice of the white men. We, ourselves, are threatened with a great evil; nothing will pacify them but the destruction of all the red men.
"' Brothers,—When the white men first set foot on our grounds, they were hungry; they had no place on which to spread their blankets, or to kindle their fires. They were feeble; they could do nothing for themselves. Our fathers commiserated their distress, and shared freely with them whatever the Great Spirit had given his red children. They gave them food when hungry, medicine when sick, spread skins for them to sleep on, and gave them grounds, that they might hunt and raise corn.—Brothers, the white people are like poisonous serpents: when chilled, they are feeble and harmless; but invigorate them with warmth, and they sting their benefactors to death.
"' The white people came among us feeble; and now that we have made them strong, they wish to kill us, or drive us back, as they would wolves and panthers.
"'Brothers,—The white men are not friends to the Indians: at first, they only asked for land sufficient for a wigwam; now, nothing will satisfy them but the whole of our hunting grounds, from the rising to the setting sun.
"'Brothers,—The white men want more than our hunting grounds; they wish to kill our old men, women, and little ones.
"'Brothers,—Many winters ago, there was no land; the sun did not rise and set: all was darkness. The Great Spirit made all things. He gave the white people a home beyond the great waters. He supplied these grounds with game, and gave them to his red children; and he gave them strength and courage to defend them.
"' Brothers,—My people wish for peace; the red men all wish for peace: but where the white people are, there is no peace for them, except it be on the bosom of our mother.
"' Brothers,—The white men despise and cheat the Indians; they abuse and insult them; they do not think the red men sufficiently good to live.
"'The red men have borne many and great injuries; they