Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

Personal Memoirs Of A Residence Of Thirty Years With The Indian Tribes On The American Frontiers by Henry Rowe Schoolcraft

Part 7 out of 15

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 1.8 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

is, by being ill supplied or equipped, or through foolhardy intrepidity.

_28th_.--A friend sent me the manuscript of his poem of "Sanillac" to
read, and to furnish some notes. The subject of the Indian is,
certainly, susceptible of being handled by the Muses, in a manner to
interest and amuse; and I regard every attempt of the kind as
meritorious, although it may be the lot of but few to succeed. The
writer on the frontier, who fills up a kind of elegant leisure by
composition, not only pleases himself, which is a thing nobody can
deprive him of, but dodges the coarser amusements of bowling, whist, and
other resorts for time-killing. He forgets his remote position for the
time, and hides from himself the feeling of that loneliness which is
best conquered by literary employment.

_30th_. Mr. Reynolds again writes, pressing the matter of the
contemplated expedition, and the prospect it opens for discovery, and
its advantage every way. He couples his offer with most liberal and
exalted sentiments, and with the opinions of distinguished men, whose
approval is praise. But notwithstanding all, there is something about
the getting up and organization of the expedition, which I do not
altogether like; and there is considerable doubt whether Congress will
not cripple it, by voting meagre supplies and outfits, if they do not
knock it in the head.

The expedition itself is a measure of the highest national moment, as it
is connected with scientific discovery, and reflects the greatest credit
on the projectors. The experiments of Dr. Maskelyn denote a greater
specific gravity in the central portions of the globe, than in its
crust, and consequently do not favor the theory advocated by Mr. R., of
an interior void. Yet we are advertised, by the phenomena of
earthquakes, that this interior abounds with oxygen, hydrogen gas,
caloric, and sulphur; and that extraordinary geological changes are
effected by their action. It does seem improbable that the proposed
expedition will trace any open connection "with such an interior world;"
but it may accumulate facts of the highest importance. I am not,
therefore, insensible of the high honor of this offer, and however I may
glow with the secret ardor of discovery, and the honor of place, my
present engagements, domestic and public, have woven about me such a
web, that it is impossible suddenly to break from it. On full
consideration and reconsideration, therefore, I declined going.[48]

[Footnote 48: The expedition was, in fact, checked by various causes, and
the project lingered for some years. At length, the expedition started
under the orders of Captain Charles Wilkes, United States Navy.]

_June 1st_. Major Delafield, of New York, transmits a box of duplicate
specimens of mineralogy from England.

"The box you forwarded for the Lyceum has not yet been sent to the
rooms. The catalogue I will present in your name to-night. The several
objects will prove extremely interesting. The lake tortoise we have been
endeavoring to obtain for a year past, to complete a paper relative to
these animals. Cooper is in Philadelphia editing the second volume of
_Bonaparte's Ornithology_. He will be disappointed in not receiving the
grosbeak,[49] of which I had spoken to him."

[Footnote 49: A new species discovered by me at Sault St. Marie.]

The study of Natural History presents some of the most pleasing
evidences of exactitude and order, in every department of creation, and
adds to life many hours of the most innocent and exalted enjoyment. It
drops, as it were, golden tissues in the walks of life, which there is a
perpetual enjoyment in unraveling.

_10th_. Mr. Reynolds writes again, without having received my last
reply, respecting the exploring expedition. He says: "Mr. Southard,
Secretary of the Navy, has expressed his deep regret that you will not
be able to find it convenient to go on the expedition."

Mr. Reynolds again writes (June 22d): "I had a conversation to-day with
the Secretary of the Navy, in relation to your joining the expedition.
He informs me that the President, as well as himself, was anxious that
you should do so; and that in case you did, an Assistant Agent might be
appointed to do your duties, as United States Agent, and thus reserve
your office until your return."

Nothing, certainly, could exceed this spirit of liberality and kind

No reasons for altering my prior decisions appeared, however, weighty
enough to change them.

_July 1st_.--The legislative council organized in due form, being sworn
in by the governor. The first assemblage of this kind in the Territory
met, I believe, four years ago. Prior to that era, the governor and
judges were authorized to adopt laws from the "old" States, which led to
a system rather objectionable, and certainly anomalous, so far as it
made the judges both _makers_ and _expounders_ of the laws; for it was
said, I know not how truly, that they picked out a clause here and
there, to fit exigencies, or cases in hand, and did not take whole
statutes. It was said that when the judges, in the exercise of their
judicial functions, got to a "tight place," they adjourned the court,
and devoted their legal acumen to picking out clauses from the statutes
of the old States, to be adopted, in order to meet the circumstances;
but these stories were, probably, to be received a little after the
manner of the slanderous reports of the Van Twiller administration, of
Knickerbocker memory. It is certain that their honors, Judges Woodward,
Griffin, and Witherall, the latter of whom was generally voted down,
have acquired no small popular notoriety as judicial and legislative
functionaries, and they must figure largely in the early annals of
Michigan, especially should this territory ever prove so fortunate as to
have a Cervantes or an Irving for its historian.

I found the members of the council to be nearly all of the old residents
of Michigan, one a Frenchman, several sent in by French votes, one or
two old volunteer officers of Hull's day, one an Indian captive, and
three lawyers by profession. When assembled they presented a body of
shrewd, grave, common-sense men, with not much legal or forensic talent,
perhaps, and no eloquence or power of speaking. There were just
_thirteen_ men, only one of whom was a demagogue, and had gained his
election by going about from house to house and asking votes. The worst
trait in the majority was a total want of moral courage, and a
disposition to favor a negligent and indebted population, by passing a
species of stop laws, and divorce laws, and of running after local and
temporary expedients, to the lowering of the tone of just legislation. I
had no constituents at home to hold me up to promises on these heads. I
was every way independent, in a political sense, and could square my
course at all times, by pursuing the right, instead of being forced into
the expedient, in cases where there was a conflict between the two. This
made my position agreeable.

I was appointed chairman of the committee on expenditures, and a member
of the judiciary, &c. I directed my attention to the incorporation of a
Historical Society; to the preparation of a system of township names
derived from the aboriginal languages; and to some efforts for bettering
the condition of the natives, by making it penal to sell or give them
ardent spirits, and thus desired to render my position as a legislator
useful, where there was but little chance of general action. As chairman
of the committee on expenditures, I kept the public expenditures snug,
and, in every respect, conformable to the laws of congress. The session
was closed about the first of July--early enough to permit me to return
to St. Mary's, to attend to the summer visits of the interior traders
and Indians.

_10th_ While engaged in the council, a friend writing from New York, who
is a close watcher of political movements, alludes to the sudden and
lamented death of Governor Clinton, last winter, and its effects on the
political parties of that State. Heavy, indeed, is the blow that removes
from the field of action a man who had occupied so wide a space in the
public esteem; and long will it be till another arises to concentrate
and control public opinion as he did. To me, as a personal friend, and
one who early counselled and directed me in my investigations in natural
history, it is a loss I feel deeply. Politicians spring up daily, but
men like him, who take a wider view of things, belong to their country.


Official journal of the Indian intercourse--Question of freedmen, or
persons not bonded for--Indian chiefs, Chacopee, Neenaby, Mukwakwut,
_Tems Couvert_, Shingabowossin, Guelle Plat, Grosse Guelle--Further
notice of Wampum-hair--Red Devil--Biographical notice of Guelle Plat, or
Flat Mouth--_Brechet_--Meeshug, a widow--Iauwind--Mongazid, chief of
Fond du Lac--Chianokwut--White Bird--Annamikens, the hero of a bear
fight, &c. &c.

_1828. July 6th_.--My return to the Agency at the Sault was in the midst
of its summer business. Indians and Indian traders from remote interior
positions, were encamped on every green spot. No trader had yet renewed
his license from the government to return. It would be difficult to
indicate a place more favorable than this was, to observe the manners
and customs of the Indians, and the peculiar questions connected with
the Indian trade. I amused myself a few days, by keeping minutes of the
visits of the mixed Indian and metif multitude.

_12th_. Antoine Mauce, Alexis Blais, and Joseph Montre, freedmen, of
Indian blood or connections, ordered from the Indian villages last fall,
presented themselves for a decision on their respective cases.

Mauce stated several facts in extenuation of his offence. He said he had
served as a boatman in the Indian trade ten years, had married an Indian
wife and raised a family, and during all this time, with the exception
of short visits to Mackinac with his _bourgeois_, had resided in the
Indian country. On the expiration of his last engagement he went to St.
Peters, and while there, made eight canoes for Mr. Bailly, from whom he
got the few goods that were seized at Sandy Lake by Mr. Johnston. He had
intended, however, to go to Mr. Johnston for a license, and he had used
the goods, in a great measure, to procure a mere support for his family.
He had left Sandy Lake last fall, passed the winter at La Pointe, and
had come down early in the spring, and, as he had lost a great deal of
time, and performed a very long journey, leaving his family behind him,
he requested that he might be allowed to return with a permit to trade.
I told him that his remaining inland, after the expiration of his
engagement, was contrary to instructions. That, being a Canadian by
birth, he could not be licensed as a trader. That he might go inland in
his old capacity of a boatman, should any American citizen be willing to
employ him, and give a bond for his future conduct, and that I should
refer the final decision upon his goods and peltries to Mr. Johnston, on
account of my imperfect knowledge of some circumstances necessary to a
correct decision.

Alexis Blais pleaded ignorance of the instructions which were given to
traders. He had no other object in remaining inland than to get a
livelihood. He came out as soon after being notified as his health would
allow. And he supposed, had he been willing to serve Mr. Aikin at Sandy
Lake, or to give him the avails of his hunt, no complaints would have
been made against him. No goods or peltries were found in his
possession, and he did not desire to return to the Indian country. I
informed him that the construction put on the Indian laws prohibited any
white man from following the pursuits of a hunter on Indian land; that
it also forbids the residence of boatmen at Indian camps or villages,
after they have served out their engagements, &c.

Joseph Montre is a metif, step-son of Mauce. Says he was born and
brought up in the Indian country, and has subsisted by hunting. Is
unacquainted with the laws, but will follow the directions given him. I
took pains to impress upon his mind, through the medium of an
interpreter, the situation in which he was placed with respect to our
government and laws, and the steps it would be necessary for him
hereafter to pursue.

* * * * *

CHACOPEE (The Six), a minor chief, from Snake River, on the St. Croix,
visited the office, accompanied by seven young warriors. He brought a
note from the Sub-agent at La Pointe, in which he is recommended as "a
deserving manly Indian, attached to the U.S. Government." As he had been
several days without food on his voyage through Lake Superior, I
directed a requisition to be made out for him and his young men, and
told them to call on me after they had appeased their hunger.

Neenaby (the person who hitches on his seat), of Sault St. Marie, lodged
a complaint against Mr. Butterfield and one of his runners (_i.e._
persons employed to look after credits given to Indians, or carry on a
petty traffic by visiting their camps). He states that, in making the
traverse from Point Iroquois across the straits of St. Mary, he was met
by young Holiday, who lashed his canoe alongside, and, after giving him
a drink of whisky, persuaded him to land on the Canada shore, where they
are out of reach of the trade and intercourse laws. They landed at
_Point aux Chenes,_ where H.'s tent was found pitched, who invited him
into it, and gave him more drink. H. then went to the Indian's canoe,
and brought in his furs. Something was then given him to eat, and they
embarked together in H.'s canoe, taking the furs, and leaving his own
canoe, with his wife, to follow. On reaching St. Marie's he was
conducted to Mr. B.'s store, and told to trade. He consented to trade
six large and two small beavers, and twenty muskrats, for which he
acknowledged to have received satisfaction. He was freely supplied with
whisky, and strongly urged to trade the other pack, containing the
principal part of his hunt, but he refused, saying he had brought it to
pay a credit taken of Mr. Johnston. This pack, he says, consisted of six
large and two small beavers, two otters, six martins, ninety muskrats,
and four minks. As an equivalent for it, they proceeded to lay out for
him, as he was told and shown next morning, a blanket, hat, pair of
leggins of green cloth, two fathoms strouds, one barrel of flour, one
bag of corn, and three kegs of whisky. He, however, on examining it,
refused to receive it, and demanded the pack of furs to go and pay his
credit. Decision deferred for inquiry into the facts.

_12th_. Chegud, accompanied by a train, &c., made a visit of
congratulation on my return (after a temporary absence).

_14th_. Revisited by Chacopee and his young men. He addressed me in a
fine manly tone and air. He referred to his attendance and conduct at
the treaties of Prairie du Chien and Fond du Lac, as an era from which
it might be known that he was attached to our government and counsel.
The object of his present visit was to renew the acquaintance he had
formed with me at those places, to say that he had not forgotten the
good advice given him, and to solicit charity for his followers. He
presented an ornamented pipe as an evidence of his friendship.

_15th_. Visited by Monomine Kashee (the Rice Maker), a chief from Post
Lake in that part of the Chippewa country bordering on Green Bay. He was
accompanied by Mukwakwut (Satan's Ball in the Clouds), and five other
persons composing their families. In the speech made by this chief,
whose influence and authority are, I believe, quite limited, he said
that his visit to me had been produced by the favorable impressions he
had received while attending the treaty of _Butte des Morts_
(Wisconsin). That he had preserved the words which had been uttered in
council by his American fathers, and was happy that all cause of
difference with their neighbors, the Winnebagoes and Menomonies had been
taken away by fixing the lines of their lands, &c. He presented four
stands of wampum to confirm his professions of good will. His companion
also got up, and spoke for several minutes, and concluded by requesting
"that his father would not overlook him, in distributing any presents he
intended to make them." He presented a pipe. After he was seated, I
asked, as I was penning these minutes, the signification of his name,
Mukwakwut, as the meaning did not appear obvious. He smiled and replied
"that in former times his ancestors had seen devils playing ball in the
air, and that his name was in allusion to the ball."

_16th_. Visited by Tems Couvert (the Lowering or Dark Cloud), a noted
war chief of Leech Lake, upper Mississippi. He states that Mr. Oaks took
from him, two years ago, nine _plus_,[50] and has not yet paid him,
together with a medal, which last was not returned to him until his
arrival at Fond du Lac this spring. He also states that Mr. Warren took
from him, while he was at La Pointe on his way out, a pack of thirty
obiminicqua [51] (equal to thirty full-sized, seasonable beavers), and has
not, as yet, offered him anything in payment.

[Footnote 50: _Plus_, Fr. A skin's worth.]

[Footnote 51: _Obiminicqua_, Alg. The value of a full beaver skin.]

Shingabowossin (the Image Stone), Shewabeketon (the Jingling Metals),
and Wayishkee (the First-born Son), the three principal chiefs of the
Home Band, with seventy-one men, women and children, visited me to
congratulate me on my safe return from Detroit. The old chief inquired
if there was any news, and whether all remains quiet between us and
the English.

Guelle Plat, or Ashkebuggecoash (the Flat Mouth), of Leech Lake, upper
Mississippi, announced his arrival, with sixty persons, chiefly warriors
and hunters. He brought a letter from one of the principal traders in
that quarter, backed by the Sub-agent of La Pointe, recommending him as
"the most respectable man in the Chippewa nation." He is said by general
consent to be the most influential man in the large and powerful band of
Leech Lake, comprising, by my latest accounts, seventeen hundred souls.
His authority is, however, that of a village or civil chief, his
coadjutor, the Lowering Cloud, having long had the principal sway with
the warriors.

Being his first visit to this agency, although he had sent me his pipe
in 1822, and, as he said, the first time he had been so far from his
native place in a south-easterly course, I offered him the attentions
due to his rank, and his visit being an introductory one, was commenced
and ended by the customary ceremonies of the pipe.

The chief, Grosse Guelle (Big Throat), together with Majegabowe, and the
Breche's son, all of Sandy Lake, arrived this day, accompanied by four
other persons, and were received with the customary respect and
attention. Having come a long distance, their first and most pressing
want was food. It is indeed astonishing that the desire of showing
themselves off as men of consequence in their nation, the expectation of
any presents or gratifications, or the hope of any notice or preferment
whatever should induce these people to undertake such long and hazardous
journeys with such totally inadequate means.

_17th_. The _Grosse Guelle_ repeated his visit, saying that his family
had been so long without a meal of hearty food that the issue of
yesterday had not sufficed to satisfy them.

Magisaunikwa (Wampum-hair) applied for provisions for himself and
family, to enable them to return to his usual place of dwelling. This
man's case has been previously noticed. He happened to be sitting in
front of his lodge last spring, in a copse of woods near the banks of
Muddy Lake, at the instant when the Inspector of Customs of St. Mary's
(Mr. Agnew) had broken through the ice with his dog-train, and had
exhausted himself in vain efforts to extricate himself. A cry reached
the ever-open ear of the Indian, who hastened to the shore, and, after
much exertion and hazard, aided by his father and family, was the means
of preserving Mr. A.'s life. After getting the body out of the water,
they drew it upon a small train to his lodge; where they applied dry
clothing, prepared a kind of tea, and were unremitting in their
attentions. When sufficiently restored, they conducted him safely to
St. Mary's.

I invested him with a medal of the first class for this noble act,
wishing by this mark of respect, and the presents of clothing and food
accompanying it, to forcibly impress his mind with the high respect and
admiration such deeds excite among civilized people, and in the further
hope that it might prove a stimulus to the lukewarm benevolence of
others, if, indeed, any of the natives can be justly accused of
lukewarmness in this respect. On visiting Fort Brady, Lt. C. F. Morton,
of N.Y., presented him a sword-knot, belt, &c. Some other presents
were, I believe, made him, in addition to those given him by Mr.
Agnew himself.

_18th_. Miscomonetoes (the Red Insect, or Red Devil; the term may mean
both), and family and followers, twelve persons in all, visited the
office. His personal appearance, and that of his family, bespoke
wretchedness, and appeared to give force to his strong complaints
against the traders who visit Ottowa Lake and the headwaters of Chippewa
River of the Mississippi. He observed that the prices they are compelled
to pay are extortionate, that their lands are quite destitute of the
larger animals, and that the beaver is nearly destroyed.

He also complained of white and half-breed hunters intruding on their
grounds, whose means for trapping and killing animals are superior to
those of the Indians. According to his statement, as high as four _plus_
(about $20) have been paid for a fathom of strouds, and the same for a
two-and-a-half point blanket, two _plus_ for a pair of scarlet
leggins, &c.

_18th_. Ten separate parties of Indians, numbering ninety-four souls,
presented themselves at the office this day, in addition to the above,
from various parts of the interior, and were heard on the subject of
their wants and wishes. _19th_. Guelle Plat repeated his visit with his
followers, and made a speech, in which he took a view of his intercourse
with the English and Americans. He had passed his youth in the plains
west of Red River, and was first drawn into an intercourse with the
British agents at Fort William (L. S.), where he received a medal from
the late Wm. McGilvray. This medal was taken by Lieut. Pike, on visiting
Leech Lake, in 1806. He has visited the agency at St. Peter's, but
complains that his path to that post has been marked with blood. He was
present during the attack made upon the Chippewa camp by the Sioux, near
Fort Snelling, in the summer of 1827. Is not satisfied with the
adjustment of this affair, but is inclined to peace, and has recommended
it to his young men. They can never, however, he says, count upon the
good-will of the enemy, and are obliged to live in a constant state of
preparation for war. They go out to hunt as if they were going on a war
party. They often meet the Sioux and smoke with them, but they cannot
confide in them.

Speaking of the authority exercised over their country for the purpose
of trade, he said: "The Americans are not our masters; the English are
not our masters; the country is ours." He wished that traders should be
allowed to visit them who would sell their goods _cheaper_, and said
that more than _one_ trader at each trading post was desired by him and
his people.

He modestly disclaimed authority over his band; said he was _no_ chief.
The Indians sometimes followed his advice; but they oftener followed
their own will. He said Indians were fond of change, and were always in
hopes of finding things better in another place. He believed it would be
better if they would not rove so much. He had ever acted on this
principle, and recommended it. He had never visited this place before,
but now that he had come this far, it was his wish to go to
Michilimackinac, of which he had heard much, and desired to see it. He
was in hopes his journey would prove of some service to him, &c. He
solicited a rifle and a hat.

The _Breche,_ alias Catawabeta (Broken Tooth), entered the office with
one or two followers, in company with the preceding. Seeing the office
crowded, he said he would defer speaking till another day. This
venerable chief is the patriarch of the region around Sandy Lake, on the
Upper Mississippi. He made his first visit to me a few days after the
landing of the troops at this post, in 1822. In turning to some minutes
of that date, I find he pronounced himself "the friend and advocate of
peace," and he referred to facts to prove that his practice had been in
accordance with his professions. He discountenanced the idea of the
Indians taking part in our wars. He said he was a small boy at the
taking of _old_ Mackinac (1763). The French wished him to take up the
war-club, but he refused. The English afterwards thanked him for this,
and requested him to raise the tomahawk in their favor, but he refused.
The Americans afterwards thanked him for this refusal, but they did not
ask him to go to war. "They all talked of peace," he said, "but still,
though they talk of peace, the Sioux continue to make war upon us. Very
lately they killed three people."

The neutral policy which this chief so early unfolded, I have found
quite characteristic of his oratory, though his political feelings are
known to be decidedly favorable to the British government.

Omeeshug, widow of Ningotook, of Leech Lake, presented a memorandum
given by me to her late husband, during my attendance at the treaty of
Prairie du Chien, in 1825, claiming a medal for her infant son, in
exchange for a British medal which had been given up. On inquiry, the
medal surrendered originally belonged to Waukimmenas, a prior husband,
by whom she also had a son named Tinnegans (_Shoulder Blade_), now a man
grown, and an active and promising Indian. I decided the latter to be
the rightful heir, and intrusted a new medal of the second size to Mr.
Roussain, to be delivered to him on his arrival at Leech Lake, with the
customary formalities.

Iauwind announced himself as having arrived yesterday, with twenty-eight
followers belonging to the band of Fond du Lac. He had, it appeared,
visited Drummond Island, and took occasion in his speech to intimate
that he had not been very favorably received. Before closing, he ran
very nearly through the catalogue of Indian wants, and trusted his
"American father" would supply them. He concluded by presenting a pipe.
I informed him that he had not visited Drummond's in ignorance of my
wishes on the subject, and that if he did not receive the presents he
expected from me, he could not mistake the cause of their
being withheld.

The Red Devil came to take leave, as he had sent his canoe to the head
of the rapids, and was ready to embark. He made a very earnest and
vehement speech, in which he once more depicted the misery of his
condition, and begged earnestly that I would consider the forlorn and
impoverished situation of himself and his young men. He presented a
pipe. I told him it was contrary to the commands of his great father,
the President, that presents should be given to any of his red children
who disregarded his wishes so much as to continue their visits to
foreign agencies. That such visits were very injurious to them both in a
moral and economical point of view. That they thereby neglected their
hunting and gardens, contracted diseases, and never failed to indulge in
the most immoderate use of strong drink. That to procure the latter,
they would sell their presents, pawn their ornaments, &c., and, I verily
believed, were their hands and feet _loose_, they would pawn them, so as
to be forever after incapable of doing anything towards their own
subsistence. I told him that if, under such circumstances, I should give
him, or any other Indian, provisions to carry them home, they must not
construe it into any approbation of their late conduct, but must ascribe
it wholly to feelings of pity and commiseration for their situation, &c.

Mongazid (the Loon's Foot), a noted speaker, and Jossakeed, or _Seer of
Fond du Lac_, arrived in the afternoon, attended by eleven persons. He
had scarcely exchanged salutations with me when he said that his
followers and himself were in a starving condition, having had very
little food for several days.

Oshogay (the Osprey), solicited provisions to return home. This young
man had been sent down to deliver a speech from his father, Kabamappa,
of the river St. Croix, in which he regretted his inability to come in
person. The father had first attracted my notice at the treaty of
Prairie du Chien, and afterwards received a small medal, by my
recommendation, from the Commissioners at Fond du Lac. He appeared to
consider himself under obligations to renew the assurance of his
friendship, and this, with the hope of receiving some presents, appeared
to constitute the object of his son's mission, who conducted himself
with more modesty and timidity before me than prudence afterwards; for,
by extending his visit to Drummond Island, where both he and his father
were unknown, he got nothing, and forfeited the right to claim anything
for himself on his return here.

I sent, however, in his charge, a present of goods of small amount, to
be delivered to his father, who has not countenanced his foreign visit.

Thirteen separate parties, amounting to one hundred and eighty-three
souls, visited the office and received issues of provisions this day.

_21st_. Mikkeingwum, of Ottoway Lake, made complaint that his canoe had
been stolen, and he was left with his family on the beach, without the
means of returning. On inquiring into the facts, and finding them as
stated, I purchased and presented him a canoe of a capacity suitable to
convey his family home.

Chianokwut (Lowering Cloud), called _Tems Couvert_ by the French,
principal war chief of Leech Lake, addressed me in a speech of some
length, and presented a garnished war-club, which he requested might be
hung up in the office. He said that it was not presented as a hostile
symbol. He had _done_ using it, and he wished to put it aside. He had
followed the war path _much_ in his youth, but he was now getting _old_,
and he desired _peace._ He had attended the treaty of Prairie du Chien,
to assist in fixing the lines of their lands. He recollected the good
counsel given to him at that place. He should respect the treaty, and
his ears were open to the good advice of his great American father, the
President, to whose words he had listened for the last ten years. He
referred to the treachery of the Sioux, their frequent violation of
treaties, &c. He hoped they should hear no _bad news_ (alluding to the
Sioux) on their return home, &c.

Wabishke Penais (the White Bird) solicited food. This young chief had
volunteered to carry an express from the Sub-agency of La Pointe in the
spring, and now called to announce his intention of returning to the
upper part of Lake Superior. His attachment to the American government,
his having received a small medal from his excellency Governor Cass, on
his visit to the Ontonagon River, in 1826, added to the circumstance of
his having served as a guide to the party who visited the mass of native
copper in that quarter in 1820, had rendered him quite unpopular with
his band, and led to his migration farther west. He appears, however,
recently to have reassumed himself of success, and is as anxious as
ever to recommend himself to notice. This anxiety is, however, carried
to a fault, being unsupported by an equal degree of good sense.

Annamikens (Little Thunder), a Chippewa of mixed blood, from Red River,
expressed a wish to speak, preparatory to his return, and drew a vivid
outline of his various journeys on the frontier, and his intercourse
with the Hudson's Bay and Canadian governments. This man had rendered
himself noted upon the frontier by a successful encounter with three
grizzly bears, and the hairbreadth escape he had made from their
clutches. He made, however, no allusion to this feat, in his speech, but
referred in general terms to the Indians present for testimonies of his
character as a warrior and hunter. He said he had now taken the American
government fast by the hand, and offered to carry any counsel I might
wish to send to the Indians on Red River, Red Lake, &c., and to use his
influence in causing it to be respected.

His appeal to the Indians, was subsequently responded to by the chief,
Tems Couvert, who fully confirmed his statements, &c.

Dugah Beshue (Spotted Lynx), of Pelican Lake, requested another trader
to be sent to that place. Complains of the high prices of goods, the
scarcity of animals, and the great poverty to which they are reduced.
Says the traders are very rigorous in their dealings; that they take
their furs from their lodges without ceremony, and that ammunition, in
particular, is so high they cannot get skins enough to purchase
a supply.

Visited by nine parties, comprising ninety-one souls.

_22d_. Received visits from, and issued provisions to eighty-one

_23d_. Wayoond applied for food for his family, consisting of six
persons, saying that they had been destitute for some time. I found, on
inquiry, that he had been drinking for several days previous, and his
haggard looks sufficiently bespoke the excesses he had indulged in. On
the following day, being in a state of partial delirium, he ran into the
river, and was so far exhausted before he could be got out, that he died
in the course of the night. It is my custom to bury all Indians who die
at the post, at the public expense. A plain coffin, a new blanket, and
shirt, and digging a grave, generally comprises this expense, which is
paid out of the contingent fund allowed the office.

Mizye (the Catfish) called on me, being on his return voyage from
Drummond Island, begging that I would give him some food to enable him
to reach his home at La Pointe. This Indian has the character of being
very turbulent, and active in the propagation of stories calculated to
keep up a British feeling amongst the Indians of Lapointe. The
reprimands he has received, would probably have led him to shun the
office, were he not prompted by hunger, and the hope of relief.

Whole number of visitors one hundred and thirty-five.

_24th_. Mongazid entered the office with his ornamented pipe, and
pipe-bearer, and expressed his wish to speak. He went at some length
into the details of his own life, and the history of the Fond du Lac
band, with which he appears to be very well acquainted. Referred to the
proofs he had given of attachment to government, in his conduct at the
treaties of Prairie du Chien and Fond du Lac; and to his services, as a
speaker for the Fond du Lac band, which had been acknowledged by the
Chippewas generally, and procured him many followers. Said the influence
of the old chief at Fond du Lac (Sappa) had declined, as his own had
extended, &c. He complained in general terms of the conduct of the
traders of that post, but did not specify any acts. Said he had advised
his young men to assent to their father's request respecting the copper
lands on Lake Superior, &c.

Having alluded in his speech to the strength of the band, and the amount
of their hunt, I asked him, after he had seated himself, what was the
population of Fond du Lac post. He replied, with readiness, two hundred
and twenty, of whom sixty-six were males grown, and fifty-four hunters.
He said that these fifty-four hunters had killed during the last year
(1828) nine hundred and ninety-four bears--that thirty-nine packs of
furs were made at the post, and ninety packs in the whole department.

Grosse Guelle made a formal speech, the drift of which was to show his
influence among the Indians, the numerous places in which he had acted
in an official capacity for them, and the proofs of attachment he had
given to the American government. He rested his merits upon these
points. He said he and his people had visited the agency on account of
what had been promised at Fond du Lac. Several of his people had,
however, gone home, fearing sickness; others had gone to Drummond Island
for their presents. For himself, he said, he should remain content to
take what his American father should see fit to offer him.

I inquired of him, if his influence with his people and attachment to
the American government were such as he had represented, how it came,
that so many of the Sandy Lake Indians, of whom he was the chief, had
gone to Drummond Island?

Shingabowossin requested that another Chippewa interpreter might be
employed, in which he was seconded by Kagayosh (A Bird in Everlasting
Flight), Wayishkee, and Shewabekaton, chiefs of the home band. They did
not wish me to put the present interpreter out of his place, but hoped I
would be able to employ another one, whom they could better understand,
and who could understand them better. They pointed out a person whom
they would be pleased with. But his qualifications extended only to a
knowledge of the Chippewa and French languages. He was deficient in
moral character and trustworthiness; and it was sufficiently apparent
that _the person thus recommended_ had solicited them to make this novel

_28th_. The wife of Metakoossega (Pure Tobacco) applied for food for her
husband, whom she represented as being sick at his lodge, and unable to
apply himself. The peculiar features and defective Chippewa
pronunciation of this woman indicated her foreign origin. She is a Sioux
by birth, having been taken captive by the Chippewas when quite young. A
residence of probably thirty years has not been sufficient to give her a
correct knowledge of the principles or pronunciation of the language.
She often applies animate verbs and adjectives to inanimate nouns, &c.,
a proof, perhaps, that no such distinctions are known in her
native tongue.

Chacopa, a chief of Snake River, intimated his wish to be heard. He said
he had visited the agency in the hope that some respect [52] would be
shown the medal he carried. The government had thought him worthy of
this honor; the traders had also thought him deserving of it; and many
of the young men of Snake River looked up to him to speak for them.
"But what," he asked, "can I say? My father knows how we live, and what
we want. We are always needy. My young men are expecting something. I do
not speak for myself; but I must ask my father to take compassion on
those who have followed me, &c. We expect, from what our great father
said to us at the treaty of Fond du Lac, that they would all be
clothed yearly."

[Footnote 52: This term was not meant to apply to personal respect, but
to presents of goods.]

Ahkakanongwa presented a note from Mr. Johnston, Sub-agent at La Pointe,
recommending him as "a peaceable and obedient Indian." He requested
permission to be allowed to take a keg of whisky inland on his return,
and to have a permit for it in writing. I asked him the name of the
trader who had sold him the liquor, and who had _sent_ him to ask
this permit.

Wayoond's widow requested provisions to enable her to return to her
country. Granted.

_30th_. Chegud, a minor chief of Tacquimenon River, embraced the
opportunity presented by his applying for food for his family, to add
some remarks on the subject of the School promised them at the signing
of the treaty of Fond du Lac. He was desirous of sending three of his
children. The conduct of this young man for several years past, his
sobriety, industry in hunting, punctuality in paying debts contracted
with the traders, and his modest, and, at the same time, manly
deportment, have attracted general notice. He is neat in his dress,
wearing a capot, like the Canada French, is emulous of the good will of
white men, and desirous to adopt, in part, their mode of living, and
have his children educated. I informed him that the United States
Senate, in ratifying the treaty, had struck out this article providing
for a school.

_31st_ Shanegwunaibe, a visiting Indian from the sources of Menomonie
River of Green Bay, stated his object in making so circuitous a journey.
(He had come by way of Michilimackinac), to visit the agency. He had
been induced, from what he had heard of the Lake Superior Indians, to
expect that general presents of clothing would be issued to all the

"Nothing," observes the Sub-agent at La Pointe, "but their wretchedness
could induce the Indians to wander."

_Aug. 3d_. Guelle Plat returned from his visit to Michilimackinac;
states that the Agent at that post (Mr. Boyd) had given him a sheep,
but had referred him to me, when speaking on the subject of presents,
&c., saying that he belonged to my agency.

Finding in this chief a degree of intelligence, united to habits of the
strictest order and sobriety, and a vein of reflection which had enabled
him to observe more than I thought he appeared anxious to communicate, I
invited him into my house, and drew him into conversation on the state
of the trade, and the condition of the Indians at Leech Lake, &c. He
said the prices of goods were high, that the traders were rigorous, and
that there were some practices which he could wish to see abolished, not
so much for his own sake,[53] as for the sake of the Indians generally;
that the traders found it for their interest to treat him and the
principal chiefs well; that he hunted diligently, and supplied himself
with necessary articles. But the generality of the Indians were
miserably poor and were severely dealt by. He said, the last thing that
they had enjoined upon him, on leaving Leech Lake, was to solicit from
me another trader. He had not, however, deemed it proper to make the
request in public council.

[Footnote 53: He was flattered and pampered by them.]

He states that the Indians are compelled to sell their furs to _one
man_, and to take what he pleases to give them in return. That the
trader fixes his own prices, both on the furs and on the goods he gives
in exchange. The Indians have no choice in the matter. And if it
happens, as it did last spring (1828), that there is a deficiency in the
outfit of goods, they are not permitted quietly to bring out their
surplus furs, and sell them to whom they please. He says that he saw a
remarkable instance of this at _Point au Pins_, on his way out, where
young Holiday drew a dirk on an Indian on refusing to let him take a
pack of furs from his canoe. He said, on speaking of this subject, "I
wish my father to take away the sword that hangs over us, and let us
bring down our furs, and sell them to whom we please."

He says that he killed last fall, nearly one thousand muskrats, thirteen
bears, twenty martins, twelve fishers. Beavers he killed none, as they
were all killed off some years ago. He says, that fifty rats are exacted
for cloth for a coat (this chief wears coats) the same for a three point
blanket, forty for a two-and-a-half point blanket, one hundred for a
Montreal gun, one _plus_ for a gill of powder, for a gill of shot, or
for twenty-five bullets, thirty martins for a beaver trap, fifteen for
a rat trap.

Speaking of the war, which has been so long waged between the Chippewas
and Sioux, to the mutual detriment of both, he said that it had
originated in the rival pretensions of a Sioux and Chippewa chief, for a
Sioux woman, and that various causes had since added fuel to the flame.
He said that, in this long war, the Chippewas had been gainers of
territory, that they were better woodsmen than the Sioux, and were able
to stand their ground. But that the fear of an enemy prevented them from
hunting some of the best beaver land, without imminent hazard. He had
himself, in the course of his life, been a member of twenty-five
different war parties, and had escaped without even a wound, though on
one occasion, he with three companions, was compelled to cut his way
through the enemy, two of whom were slain.

These remarks were made in private conversation. Anxious to secure the
influence and good-will of a man so respectable both for his standing
and his understanding, I had presented him, on his previous visit (July
19), with the President's large medal, accompanied by silver
wrist-bands, gorget, &c., silver hat-band, a hat for himself and son,
&c. I now added full patterns of clothing for himself and family,
kettles, traps, a fine rifle, ammunition, &c., and, observing his
attachment for dress of European fashion, ordered an ample cloak of
plaid, which would, in point of warmth, make a good substitute for
the blanket.

On a visit which he made to Fort Brady on the following day, Dr. Pitcher
presented his only son, a fine youth of sixteen, a gilt sword, and, I
believe, some other presents were made by the officers of the
2d Regiment.

_5th_. Issued an invoice of goods, traps, kettles, &c. to the Indians,
who were assembled in front of the office, and seated upon the green for
the purpose of making a proper distribution. I took this occasion to
remind them of the interest which their great father, the President,
constantly took in their welfare, and of his ardent desire that they
might live in peace and friendship with each other, and with their
ancient enemies, the Sioux. That he was desirous to see them increase in
numbers, as well as prosperity, to cultivate the arts of peace, so far
as they were compatible with their present condition and position, to
participate in the benefits of instruction, and to abstain from the use
of ardent spirits, that they might continue to live upon the lands of
their forefathers, and increase in all good knowledge. I told them they
must consider the presents, that had now been distributed, as an
evidence of these feelings and sentiments on the part of the President,
who expected that they would be ready to hearken to his counsels, &c.

I deemed this a suitable opportunity to reply to some remarks that had
fallen from several of the speakers, in the course of their summer
visits, on the subject of the stipulations contained in the treaty of
Fond du Lac, and informed them that I had put the substance of their
remarks into the shape of a letter to the department (see Official Let.,
Aug. 2d, 1828), that this letter would be submitted to the President,
and when I received a reply it should be communicated to them.

_6th_. Shingabowossin and his band called to take leave previous to
their setting out on their fall hunts. He thanked me in behalf of all
the Indians, for the presents distributed to them yesterday.

Wayishkee (the First Born), a chief of the home band, on calling to take
leave for the season, stated that he had been disabled by sickness from
killing many animals during the last year, that his family was large,
und that he felt grateful for the charity shown to his children, &c.

This chief is a son of the celebrated war chief Waubodjeeg (the White
Fisher), who died at La Pointe about thirty years ago, from whom he
inherited a broad wampum belt and gorget, delivered to his grandfather
(also a noted chief) by Sir Wm. Johnson, on the taking of Fort
Niagara, in 1759.

The allusion made to his family recalled to my mind the fact, that he
has had twelve children by one wife, nine of whom are now living; a
proof that a cold climate and hardships are not always adverse to the
increase of the human species.

_7th_. Annamikens made a speech, in which he expressed himself very
favorably of our government, and said he should carry back a good report
of his reception. He contrasted some things very adroitly with the
practices he had observed at Red River, Fort William, and Drummond's
Island. Deeming it proper to secure the influence of a person who stands
well with the Indians on that remote frontier, I presented him a medal
of the second class, accompanying it by some presents of clothing, &c.,
and an address to be delivered to the Chippewas, at the sources of the
Mississippi, in which I referred to the friendly and humane disposition
of our government, its desire that the Indians should live in peace,
refrain from drink, &c.

Terns Couvert, in a short speech, expressed himself favorably towards
Annamikens, corroborating some statements the latter had made.

Chacopee came to make his farewell speech, being on the point of
embarking. He recommended some of his followers to my notice, who were
not present when the goods were distributed on the fifth instant. He
again referred to the wants and wishes of the Indians of Snake River,
who lived near the boundary lines, and were subject to the incursions of
the Sioux. Says that the Sioux intrude beyond the line settled at the
Prairie, &c. Requests permission to take inland, for his own use, two
kegs of whisky, which had been presented to him by Mr. Dingley and Mr.
Warren. [This mode of evading the intercourse act, by presenting or
selling liquor on territory where the laws of Congress do not operate,
shifting on the Indians the risk and responsibility of taking it inland,
is a new phase of the trade, and evinces the _moral_ ingenuity of the
American Fur Company, or their servants.]

_8th_. Grosse Guelle stated that, as he was nearly ready to return, he
wished to say a few words, to which he hoped I would listen. He
complained of the hardness of times, high prices of goods, and poverty
of the Indians, and hoped that presents would be given to them.[54] He
alleged these causes for his visit, and that of the Sandy Lake Indians
generally. Adverted to the outrage committed by the Sioux at St. Peters,
and to the treaty of Prairie du Chien, at which his fathers (alluding to
Gen. Clarke and Gov. Cass) promised to punish the first aggressors.
Requested permission to take in some whisky--presses this topic, and
says, in reply to objections, that "Indians die whether they drink
whisky or not." He presented a pipe in his own name, and another in the
names of the two young chiefs Wazhus-Kuk-Koon (Muskrat's Liver), and
Nauganosh, who both received small medals at the treaty of Fond du Lac.

[Footnote 54: By visiting Drummond's Island contrary to instructions,
this chief and his band had excluded themselves from the distribution
made on the 5th of August.]

Katewabeda, having announced his wish to speak to me on the 6th instant,
came into the office for that purpose. He took a view of the standing
his family had maintained among the Sandy Lake Indians from an early
day, and said that he had in his possession until very lately a French
flag, which had been presented to some of his ancestors, but had been
taken to exhibit at Montreal by his son-in-law (Mr. Ermatinger, an
English trader recently retired from business). He had received a
muzinni'egun [55] from Lieut. Pike, on his visit to Sandy Lake, in 1806,
but it had been lost in a war excursion on the Mississippi. He concluded
by asking a permit to return with some mdz. and liquor, upon the sale of
which, and not on hunting, he depended for his support [56] I took
occasion to inform him that I had been well acquainted with his
standing, character, and sentiments from the time of my arrival in the
country in the capacity of an agent; that I knew him to be friendly to
the traders who visited the Upper Mississippi, desirous to keep the
Indians at peace, and not less desirous to keep up friendly relations
with the authorities of both the British and American governments; but
that I also very well knew that whatever political influence he exerted,
was not exerted to instil into the minds of the Indians sentiments
favorable to our system of government, or to make them feel the
importance of making them strictly comply with the American intercourse
laws, &c. I referred to the commencement of my acquaintance with him,
twenty days after my first landing at St. Mary's, and by narrating
facts, and naming dates and particulars, endeavored to convince him that
I had not been an indifferent observer of what had passed both _within_
and _without_ the Indian country. I also referred to recent events here,
to which I attributed an application to trade, which he had not thought
proper or deemed necessary to make in _previous_ years.

[Footnote 55: A paper; any written or printed document.]

[Footnote 56: This is one of the modern modes of getting goods into the
country in contravention of law, Mr. Ermatinger being a foreigner
trading on the Canadian side of the river.]

I concluded by telling him that he would see that it was impossible, in
conformity with the principles I acted upon, and the respect which I
claimed of Indians for my counsels, to grant his request.

_11th_. Guelle Plat came to take leave preparatory to his return. He
expressed his sense of the kindness and respect with which he had been
treated, and intimated his intention of repeating his visit to the
Agency during the next season, should his health be spared. He said, in
the course of conversation, that "there was one thing in which he had
observed a great difference between the practice of this and St. Peter's
Agency. _There_ whisky is given out in abundance; _here_ I see it is
your practice to give none."

_12th_. Invested Oshkinahwa (the Young Man of the totem of the Loon of
Leech Lake), with a medal.

_15th_. Issued provisions to the family of Kussepogoo, a Chippewyan
woman from Athabasca, recently settled at St. Mary's. It seems the name
by which this remote tribe is usually known is of Chippewa origin (being
a corruption of _Ojeegewyan_, a fisher's skin), but they trace no
affinity with the Chippewa stock, and the language is radically
different, having very little analogy either in its structure or sounds.
It is comparatively harsh and barren, and so defective and vague in its
application that it even seems questionable whether nouns and verbs
have number.

_18th_. Visited by the Little Pine (Shingwaukonce), the leading chief on
the British shore of the St. Mary's, a shrewd and politic man, who has
united, at sundry periods, in himself the offices and influence of a war
chief, a priest, or Jossakeed, and a civil ruler. The giving of public
presents on the 5th had evidently led to his visit, although he had not
pursued the policy expected from him, so far as his influence reached
among the Chippewas on the American shores of the straits. He made a
speech well suited to his position, and glossed off with some fine
generalities, avoiding commitments on main points and making them on
minor ones, concluding with a string of wampum. I smoked and shook hands
with him, and accepted his tenders of friendship by re-pledging the
pipe, but narrowed his visit to official proprieties, and refused
his wampum.

_22d._ Magisanikwa, or the Wampum-hair, renewed his visit, gave me
another opportunity to remember his humane act in the spring, and had
his claims on this score allowed. The Indians never forget a good act
done by them, and we should not permit them to surpass us in
this respect.


Natural history of the north-west--Northern
zoology--Fox--Owl--Reindeer--A dastardly attempt at murder by a
soldier---Lawless spread of the population of northern Illinois over the
Winnebago land--New York Lyceum of Natural History--U.S. Ex.
Ex.--Fiscal embarrassments in the Department--Medical cause of Indian
depopulation--Remarks of Dr. Pitcher--Erroneous impressions of the
Indian character--Reviews--Death of John Johnston, Esq.

1828. _July 24th_. The ardor with which I thought it proper to address
myself to the Indian duties of my office, did not induce me, by any
means, to neglect my correspondence or the claims of visitors
to Elmwood.

This day Lt. Col. Lindsay and Capt. Spotts, U.S.A., being on court
martial duty at Fort Brady, paid their respects to me, and the Col.
expressed his pleasure and surprise at the taste, order, and disposition
of the grounds and the Agency.

Nor did the official duties of my position interfere with the
investigation of the natural history of the country.

A large box of stuffed birds and quadrupeds, containing twenty-three
specimens of various species, was sent to the Lyceum of Natural History
at New York, in the month of April. Mr. William Cooper writes, under
this date, that they have been received and examined. "The lynx appears
to be the northern species, different from that common in this part of
the country, and very rarely seen here even in the public collections.
Several of the birds, also, I had never had an opportunity of examining
before. The spruce partridge, _Tetrae Canadensis_, is very rare in the
United States. There is no other species in this city besides yours. It
was entirely unknown to Wilson; but it is to appear in the third vol. of
Bonaparte's continuation of Wilson, to be published in the ensuing
autumn. The circumstance of its being found in the Michigan Territory,
is interesting on account of the few localities in which this bird has
been found in our boundaries. The three-toed woodpecker, _Picus
tridactylus_, was equally unknown to Wilson, and the second volume of
Bonaparte, now about to be issued, contains an elegant figure and
history of this bird, which also inhabits the north of Europe and Asia.
The other birds and quadrupeds of your collection, though better known,
were very interesting, as affording materials for the history of their
geographical distribution, a subject now become exceedingly interesting.
The plover of the plain is the turnstone, _strepsilus interpres_.

"The large fish is one of the genus _Amia_, and Dr. Dekay is inclined to
think it different from the _A. caloa_ found in our southern rivers, but
of much smaller size. The tortoises belong to three species, viz., _T.
scabra_, _T. pieta_, and _T. serpentina_. It is the first information I
have obtained of their inhabiting so far to the north-west. There are
also others found in your vicinity, which, if it would not be asking too
much, I should be much pleased if you could obtain for the Lyceum."

"I hope you will excuse me, if I take the liberty to recommend to you,
to direct your observation more particularly to those birds which come
to you in winter, from the north, or in any direction from beyond the
United States territory. It is among these that you may expect to find
specimens new to our ornithology.

"The beautiful _Fringilla_, which you sent to us a few years since, is
figured and described from your specimen, and in an elegant manner, in
the volume just about to be published of Bonaparte's work."

Mr. G. Johnston of La Pointe, Lake Superior, writes: "Since I had the
honor of receiving a printed letter from the Lyceum of Natural History,
I have been enabled to procure, at this place, two specimens of the
jumping mouse.

"The history the Indians give of its habits is as follows: It burrows
under ground, and in summer lives on the bark of small trees. It
provides and lays up a store of corn, nuts, &c., for winter consumption.
It also climbs and lives in hollow parts of trees. It is also possessed
of a carnivorous habit, it being peculiarly fond of burrowing in old
burying places, where it lives, principally on the corpse. It is never
seen in winter."

There is something in the northern zoology besides the determination of
species, which denotes a very minute care in preparing animals for the
particular latitudes the several species are designed for, by protecting
the legs and feet against the power of intense cold. And the dispersion
and migration of birds and quadrupeds are thus confined to general
boundaries. The fox, in high northern latitudes, is perfectly white
except the nose and tips of the ears, which are black, and the hair
extends so as to cover its nails. The various kinds of owls, and the
Canada jay, which winter in these latitudes, have a feathery, half-hairy
protection to the toes. The American species of the reindeer, which
under the name of cariboo, inhabits the country around the foot of Lake
Superior, has its hoof split in such a manner that it, in fact, serves
as a kind of snow shoe, spreading quite thin over about forty
superficial inches, which enables it to walk on the crusted snow.

_29th_. Dr. William Augustus Ficklin, of Louisiana (Jackson), recalls my
attention to the U.S. Exploring Expedition, the programme of which
embraces my name. "You will want a physician and surgeon attached to the
expedition. Is the place yet filled?" My acquaintance with this young
gentleman, then a lad at his father's house, in Missouri, recalls many
pleasing recollections, which gives me every inducement to favor
his wishes.

_August 2d_. Mr. Robert Irwin, Junr., of Green Bay, writes that a most
diabolical attempt was recently made at that place, a few days ago, to
take the life of Maj. Twiggs, by a corporal belonging to his command.
The circumstances were briefly these: About two o'clock in the
afternoon, the major had retired to his room to repose himself. Soon
after the corporal entered the room so secretly that he presented a
loaded musket within a few inches of his head, and, as Providence would
have it, the gun missed fire. The noise awoke the major, who
involuntarily seized the muzzle, and, while looking the fellow full in
the face, he cocked the gun and again snapped it; but it missed fire the
second time. With that the major sprang up in bed and wrenched the gun
out of the assassin's hands, and with the breech knocked the fellow
down, fracturing his skull so much that his life was for many days
despaired of.

_4th_. Gov. Cass, who has proceeded to Green Bay as a Commissioner for
treating with the Indians, writes: "I am waiting here very impatiently
for arrivals from the Indian country. But nothing comes, as yet, except
proof stronger and stronger of the injustice done to the Winnebagoes by
the actual seizure of their country." To repress this spirit of the
people of northern Illinois, much time and negotiation was required. By
his knowledge of the Indian and frontier character, an arrangement was
at length concluded for the occupation of the Rock River and
Galena country.

_23d_. An official letter of the New York Lyceum of Natural History
expresses their thanks for recent donations. Dr. Van Rensselaer says:
"Your birds, reptiles, and quadrupeds have been most graciously
received.... The expedition to the South Seas (heretofore noticed in
this journal) will afford a field for some naturalist to labor in. Dr.
Dekay intends to apply for the situation. We are at present engaged in
drawing up some instructions for the naturalist (whoever he may be),
which we shall hand to Mr. Southard, who is now here and has requested
it. We trust the expedition will add something to our knowledge as well
as to our pecuniary wealth."

_27th_. _Fiscal_--Something has been out of kelter at Washington these
two years with regard to the rigid application of appropriations, at
least in the Indian Department. We have been literally without money,
and issuing paper to public creditors and employees. Surely a government
that collects its own revenues should never want funds to pay its agents
and officers.

Mr. Trowbridge writes: "The money pressure is nearly or quite over in
New York, but we feel it here in a dreadful degree. The want of public
disbursements this year, upon which we have always rested our hopes with
so much confidence, added to the over-introduction of goods for a year
or two past, has produced this state of things, and I sometimes think
that there will be no great improvement in this generation."

_29th_. _Medical Causes of Depopulation_.--The causes of Indian
depopulation are wars, the want of abundance of food, intemperance, and
idleness. Dr. Pitcher, in a letter of this date, says: "In your note (to
'Sanillac') on the subject of the diminution in numbers of our
aboriginal neighbors, you have seized upon the most conspicuous, and,
during their continuance, the most fatal causes of their decline. With
the small-pox you might, however, associate the measles, which, in
consequence of their manner of treating the fever preceding the
eruption, viz., the use of vapor and cold baths combined, most commonly
tends to a mortal termination. To these two evils, propagated by the
diffusion of a specific virus, may be added the prevalence of general
epidemics, such as influenza, &c., whose virulence expends its force
without restraint upon the Indians. They are not (as you are aware) a
people who draw much instruction from the school of experience,
particularly in the department of medicine, and, when by the side of
this fact you place the protean forms which the diseases of epidemic
seasons assume, the inference must follow that multitudes of them perish
where the civilized man would escape (of which I could furnish

"It is the province of the science of medicine to preserve to society
its feeble and invalid members, which, notwithstanding the war it wages
upon the principle of political economists, augments considerably the
sum of human life. The victims of the diseases of civilization do not
balance the casualties, &c. of a ruder state of society, as may be seen
by inspecting the tables of the rates of mortality for a century past.

"I will suggest to you the propriety of improving this opportunity for
setting the public right on one point, and that is the effects of
aboriginal manners upon the physical character. For my part, I have long
since ceased to believe that they are indebted to their mode of life for
the vigor, as a race, which they exhibit, but that the naturally feeble
are destroyed by the vicissitudes to which they are exposed, and which,
in part, gives them an appearance, hardy and athletic, above their
civilized neighbors."

_Erroneous impressions of Indians_.--Maj. Whiting, of Detroit, says
(27th inst.): "I dare say I may find many things which will suit our
purposes well. Something new and genuine is what we want, and the source
gives assurance these things all bear that character. It is time the
public should know that neither ladies nor gentlemen who have never
crossed the lakes or the Alleghany, can have any but vague ideas of the
children of the forest. An Indian might not succeed well in portraying
life in New York, because he does not read much, and would have to trust
pretty much, if not altogether, to imagination; but his task would
differ only in degree from that of the literary pretender who has never
traveled West beyond the march of fresh oysters (though by the way,
these have been seen in Detroit), and yet thinks he can penetrate the
shadows and darkness of the wilderness. They put a hatchet in his hand,
and stick a feather in his cap, and call him 'Nitche Nawba.' If I
recollect right, in Yamoyden a soup was made of some white children.
Indians have not been over dainty at times, and no doubt have done worse
things; but on such occasions their _modus operandi_ was not likely to
be so much in accordance with the precepts of Madam Glass."

_Reviews_.--"I read over your last article in the N.A., and thought it
had rather less point and connection than you had probably given it; but
it still has much to recommend it. The remarks on language were more
intelligible to me than any I have before seen, and have given me many
clues which I have vainly sought for in preceding dissertations of
the kind."

_Sept. 22d_. This day the patriarch of the place, John Johnston, Esq.,
breathed his last. He had attained the age of sixty-six. A native of the
county of Antrim, in the north of Ireland; a resident for some
thirty-eight years of this frontier; a gentleman in manners; a merchant,
in chief, in the hazardous fur trade; a man of high social feelings and
refinements; a cotemporary of the long list of men eminent in that
department; a man allied to bishops and nobles at home; connected in
marriage with a celebrated Chippewa family of Algonquins; he was another
Rolfe, in fact, in his position between the Anglo-Saxon and the Indian
races; his life and death afford subjects for remark which are of the
deepest interest, and would justify a biography, not a mere notice. I
wrote a brief sketch for the _New York Albion_, and transmitted copies
of the paper to some of his connections in Ireland.

His coming out from that country was during the first presidency of
Washington, and a few years before the breaking out of the Irish
Rebellion. He had a deep sense of his country's injuries, and of the
effect of the laws which pressed so heavily on her energies, political
and commercial; but was entirely loyal, and maintained the highest tone
of loyalism in argument. He saw deeply the evils, but not the remedy,
which he thought to lay rather in future and peaceful developments.

He suffered greatly and unjustly in the war of 1812, in which his place
was pillaged by the American troops, and some forty thousand dollars of
his private property destroyed, contrary to the instructions of the
American commandant. Low-minded persons who had been in his service as
clerks, and disliked his pretensions to aristocracy, were the cause of
this, and piloted the detachment up the river. He was, however, in
nowise connected with the North-west Company, far less "one of its
agents." He was a civil magistrate under Gov.-Gen. Prevost, and was
honestly attached to the British cause, and he had never accepted any
office or offers from the American government. The Canadian British
authorities did not, however, compensate him for his losses, on the
ground of his living over the lines, at a time, too, when Gen. Brock had
taken the country and assumed the functions of civil and military
governor over all Michigan. The American Congress did not acknowledge
the obligation to sustain the orders to respect private property,
the Chairman of the Committee of Claims reporting that the actors
"might be prosecuted," and the old gentleman's last years were thus
embittered, and he went down to the grave the victim of double
misconceptions--leaving to a large family of the Indo-Irish stock little
beyond an honorable and unspotted name.


Treaty of St. Joseph--Tanner--Visits of the Indians in distress--Letters
from the civilized world--Indian code projected--Cause of Indian
suffering--The Indian cause--Estimation of the character of the late Mr.
Johnston--Autobiography--Historical Society of Michigan--Fiscal
embarrassments of the Indian Department.

1828. Tanner was a singular being--out of humor with the world, speaking
ill of everybody, suspicious of every human action, a very savage in his
feelings, reasonings, and philosophy of life, and yet exciting
commiseration by the very isolation of his position. He had been stolen
by the Indians in the Ohio Valley when a mere boy, during the marauding
forays which they waged against the frontiers about 1777. He was not
then, perhaps, over seven years of age--so young, indeed, as to have
forgotten, to a great degree, names and dates. His captors were Saganaw
Chippewas, among whom he learned the language, manners and customs, and
superstitions of the Indians. They passed him on, after a time, to the
Ottowas of L'Arbre Croche, near Mackinac, among whom he became settled
in his pronunciation of the Ottowa dialect of the great Algonquin
family. By this tribe, who were probably fearful a captive among them
would be reclaimed after Wayne's war and the defeat of the combined
Indians on the Miami of the Lakes, he was transferred to kindred tribes
far in the north-west. He appears to have grown to manhood and learned
the arts of hunting and the wild magic notions of the Indians on the Red
River of the North, in the territory of Hudson's Bay. Lord Selkirk, in
the course of his difficulties with the North-west Company, appears to
have first learned of his early captivity.

He came out to Mackinac with the traders about 1825, and went to find
his relatives in Kentucky, with whom, however, he could not long live.
His habits were now so inveterately savage that he could not tolerate
civilization. He came back to the frontiers and obtained an
interpretership at the U.S. Agency at Mackinac. The elements of his mind
were, however, morose, sour, suspicious, antisocial, revengeful, and
bad. In a short time he was out with everybody. He caused to be written
to me a piteous letter. Dr. James, who was post surgeon at the place,
conceived that his narrative would form a popular introduction to his
observations on some points of the Indian character and customs, which
was the origin of a volume that was some years afterwards given to
the public.

A note he brought me in 1828, from a high source, procured him my
notice. I felt interested in his history, received him in a friendly
manner, and gave him the place of interpreter. He entered on the duties
faithfully; but with the dignity and reserve of an Indian chief. He had
so long looked on the dark side of human nature that he seldom or never
smiled. He considered everybody an enemy. His view of the state of
Indian society in the wilderness made it a perfect hell. They were
thieves and murderers. No one from the interior agreed with him in this.
The traders, who called him a bad man, represent the Indians as social
when removed from the face of white men, and capable of noble and
generous acts. He was, evidently, his own judge and his own avenger in
every question. I drew out of him some information of the Indian
superstitions, and he was well acquainted practically with the species
of animals and birds in the northern latitudes.

_30th_. A letter informs me that a treaty has just been concluded with
the Potawattomies of St. Joseph's, who cede to the United States about a
million and a half acres, comprising the balance of their lands in
Michigan. I received, at the same time, a few lines from Gen. Cass,
speaking a word for the captive, John Tanner, the object of which was to
suggest his employment as an interpreter in the Indian Department.[57]

[Footnote 57: This man served a short time, but turned out, for eighteen
years, to be the pest of that settlement, being a remarkably suspicious,
lying, bad-minded man, having lost every virtue of the white man, and
accumulated every vice of the Indian. He became more and more morose and
sour because the world would not support him in idleness, and went about
half crazed, in which state he hid himself one day, in 1836, in the
bushes, and shot and killed my brother, James L. Schoolcraft. He then
fled back to the Indians, and has not been caught. The musket with which
this nefarious act was done, is said to have been loaned to him from the
guard-house at Fort Brady. Dr. Bagg pronounced the ball an ounce-ball,
such as is employed in the U.S. service. The wad was the torn leaf of a
hymn book. It was extensively reported by the diurnal press, that I had
been the victim of this unprovoked perfidy.]

_October 31st_. The Indian visits, from remote bands, which were very
remarkable this year, continued through the entire month of August, and
beyond the date at which I dropped the notices of them, during
September, when they were reduced, as party after party returned to the
interior, to the calls of the ordinary bands living about the post, and,
at furthest, to the foot of Lake Superior and the valley and straits of
the St. Mary's. With them, or rather before them, went the traders with
their new outfits and retinues, chiefly from Michilimackinac. As one
after another departed, there was less need of that vigilance, "by night
and by day," to see that none of the latter class went without due
license; that the foreign boatmen on their descriptive lists were duly
bonded for; that no "freedmen" slipped in; and that no ardent spirits
were taken in contrary to law. Gradually my public duties were thus
narrowed down to the benevolent wants of the bands that were immediately
around me, to seeing that the mechanics employed by the Department did
their duties, and to keeping the office at Washington duly informed of
the occurrences and incidents belonging to Indian affairs. All this,
after the close of summer, requires but a small portion of a man's time,
and as winter, which begins here the first of November, approached, I
felt impelled to devote a larger share of attention to subjects of
research or literary amusement. I missed two men in plunging into the
leisure hours of my seventh winter (omitting 1825), in this latitude,
namely, Mr. Johnston, whose conversation and social sympathies were
always felt, and Dr. Pitcher, whose tastes for natural science and
general knowledge rendered him a valuable visitor.

Letters from the civilized world tended to keep alive the general
sympathies, which none more appreciate than those who are shut out from
its circles. Mr. Edward Everett (Oct. 6th) communicates his sentiments
favorably, respecting the preparation of an article for the _North
American Review_. The Rev. Mr. Cadle (Oct. 7th) sends a package of
Bibles and Prayer Books for distribution among the soldiers, which he
entrusts to Mrs. S. The Rev. Mr. Wells, of Detroit, writes of some
temporality. Mr. Trowbridge keeps me advised respecting the all
important and growing importance of the department's fiscal affairs.

The author of "Sanillac" (Oct. 8th) acknowledges the reception and
reading of my "Notes," with which he expresses himself pleased. The head
of the Indian office writes, "The plan has been adopted of compiling a
code of regulations for the Indian intercourse during the winter. For
this duty, Gen. Clarke, of St. Louis, and Gen. Cass, of Detroit, have
been selected." Such were some of the extraneous subjects which the
month of October brought from without.

The month of November was not without some incidents of interest. From
the first to the fifteenth, a number of Indian families applied for
food, under circumstances speaking loudly in their favor. The misfortune
is, that these poor creatures are induced to part with everything for
the means of gratifying their passion for drink, and then lingering
around the settlements as long as charity offers to supply their daily
wants. The usual term of application for this class is, Kittemaugizzi,
or Nim bukkudda, I am in want, or I am hungry. By making my office a
study, I am always found in the place of public duty, and the latter is
only, in fact, a temporary relief from literary labor. I have often been
asked how I support solitude in the wilderness. Here is the answer: the
wilderness and the busy city are alike to him who derives his amusements
from mental employment.

_Nov. 7th_. The Indian Cause.--In a letter of this date from Mr. J.D.
Stevens, of the Mission of Michilimackinac, he suggests a colony to be
formed at some point in the Chippeway country of Lake Superior, and
inquires whether government will not patronize such an effort to reclaim
this stock. The Indian is, in every view, entitled to sympathy. The
misfortune with the race is, that, seated on the skirts of the domain of
a popular government, they have no vote to give. They are politically a
nonentity. The moral and benevolent powers of our system are with the
people. Government has nothing to do with them. The whole Indian race is
not, in the political scales, worth one white man's vote. Here is the
difficulty in any benevolent scheme. If the Indian were raised to the
right of giving his suffrage, a plenty of politicians, on the
frontiers, would enter into plans to better him. Now the subject drags
along as an incubus on Congress. Legislation for them is only taken up
on a pinch. It is a mere expedient to get along with the subject; it is
taken up unwillingly, and dropped in a hurry. This is the Indian system.
Nobody knows really what to do, and those who have more information are
deemed to be a little moon-struck.

_18th_. ESTIMATION OF MR. JOHNSTON.--Gov. Cass writes from Washington:
"Mr. Johnston's death is an event I sincerely deplore, and one upon
which I tender my condolements to the family. He was really no common
man. To preserve the manners of a perfect gentleman, and the
intelligence and information of a well-educated man, in the dreary
wastes around him, and in his seclusion from all society but that of his
own family, required a vigor and elasticity of mind rarely to be found."

NEW INDIAN CODE.--The loose and fragmentary character of the Indian code
has, at length, arrested attention at Washington, and led to some
attempts to consolidate it. A correspondent writes (Nov. 18th): "Gen.
Clarke has not yet arrived, but is expected daily. In the meantime, I
have prepared an analysis of the subject, which has been approved by the
department, and, on the arrival of Gen. Clarke, we shall be prepared to
proceed to the compilation of our code, which, I do hope, will put
things in a better situation for all."

The derangements in the fiscal affairs of the Indian department are in
the extreme. One would think that appropriations had been handled with a
pitchfork. A correspondent writes: "For 1827, we were promised $48,000,
and received $30,000. For 1828, we were promised $40,000, and have
received $25,000; and, besides these promises, were all the extra
expenditures authorized to be incurred, amounting to not less than
$15,000. It is impossible this can continue." And these derangements are
only with regard to the north. How the south and west stand, it is
impossible to say. But there is a screw loose in the public machinery

_Dec. 5th_. AUTOBIOGRAPHY.--"It is to be regretted," writes Dr. Edwin
James, "that our lamented friend (Mr. Johnston) had not lived to
complete his autobiography. This deficiency constitutes no valid
objection to the publication of the memoirs, though it appears to me
highly desirable that you should complete the sketch, so as to include
the history of the latter portion of his life. In perfect accordance
with the plan of such a continuation, you would embody much valuable
detail in relation to the history and condition of this section of the
country for the last thirty years. You must, doubtless, have access to
all the existing materials, and to many sources of authentic
information, which could, very appropriately, be given to the public in
such a form."

forward, and had passed at the last session of the Legislature, an act
incorporating the Historical Society of Michigan. Dr. Pitcher, who has
recently changed his position to Fort Gratiot, at the foot of Lake
Huron, proposes the embracing of natural history among its studies. He
finds his position, at that point, to be still unfavorable in some
aspects, and not much, if anything, superior to what it was at
St. Mary's.

_27th_. FISCAL PERPLEXITIES OF THE DEPARTMENT.--These were alluded to
before. No improvement appears, but we are all destined to suffer. A
friend, who is versed in the subject, writes from Washington: "The fact
is, that nothing could be worse managed than the fiscal concerns of the
department. Not the slightest regard has been paid to the apportionment
made, and there is now due to our superintendency more than the sum of
$40,000. You can well conceive how this happens, and I have neither time
nor patience to enter into the details; suffice it to say, that I am
promised by the Secretary that the moment the appropriation law passes,
which will probably be early in January, every dollar of arrearages
shall be paid off. This is all the consolation I can furnish you, and, I
suppose I need not say that I have left no stone unturned to effect a
more desirable result. It is manifest, however, that the whole
department will be exceedingly pressed for funds next year, as a
considerable part of the appropriation must be assigned to the payment
of arrearages, which have been suffered to accumulate; and it is not
considered expedient, in the present state of affairs, to ask for a
specific appropriation. It will require at least two years to bring our
fiscal concerns to a healthy state."

In fact, to meet these embarrassments, many retrenchments became
necessary; some sub-agencies were drawn in from the Indian country,
mechanics and interpreters were dismissed, and things put on the very
lowest scale of expenditure.


Political horizon--Ahmo Society--Incoming of Gen. Jackson's
administration--Amusements of the winter--Peace policy among the
Indians--Revival at Mackinac--Money crisis--Idea of Lake tides--New
Indian code--Anti-masonry--Missions among the Indians--Copper mines--The
policy respecting them settled--Whisky among the Indians--Fur
trade--Legislative council--Mackinac mission---Officers of Wayne's
war--Historical Society of Michigan--Improved diurnal press.

_1829. Jan. 1st_. The administration of John Quincy Adams now draws to a
close, and that of Gen. Jackson is anticipated to commence. Political
things shape themselves for these events. The close of the old year and
the opening of the new one have been remarkable for heralding many
rumors of change which precede the incoming of the new administration.
Many of these relate to the probable composition of Gen. Jackson's
cabinet. Among the persons named in my letters is Gov. Cass, who has
attracted a good deal of exterior notoriety during the last year. Within
the territory, his superiority of talents and energy have never been
questioned. Michigan would have much to lament by such a transference,
for it is to be feared that party rancor, which he has admirably kept
down, would break forth in all its accustomed violence.

_17th_. AHMO SOCIETY.--Under this aboriginal term, which signifies a
bee, the ladies of the fort and village have organized themselves into a
sewing society for benevolent purposes. I find myself honored with a
letter of thanks from them by their secretary, Mrs. E.S. Russell. Truly,
the example of Dorcas was not mentioned in vain in the Scriptures, for
its effect is to excite the benevolent and charitable everywhere to do
likewise. Every such little influence helps to make society better, and
aids its sources of pleasing and self-sustaining reflection.

_February 12th_. A letter from the editor of the _North American
Review_ acknowledges the receipt of a paper to appear in _its_ columns.

_March 4th_, The administration of the government this day passes into
the hands of a man of extraordinary individuality of character,
indomitable will, high purpose, and decided moral courage. He was
fighting the Creeks and Seminoles when I first went to the West, and
they told the most striking anecdotes of him, illustrating each of these
traits of character. Ten or eleven years have carried him into the
presidential chair. Such is the popular feeling with respect to military
achievements and strong individuality of character. Men like to follow
one who shows a capacity to lead.

_31st_. The winter has passed with less effect from the intensity of its
cold and external dreariness, from the fact of my being ensconsed in a
new house, with double window-sashes, fine storm-houses, plenty of maple
fuel, books, and studies. Besides the fruitful theme of the Indian
language, I amused myself, in the early part of the season, by writing a
review for one of the periodicals, and with keeping up, throughout the
season, an extensive correspondence with friends and men of letters in
various parts of the Union. I revised and refreshed myself in some of my
early studies, I continued to read whatever I could lay my hands on
respecting the philosophy of language. Appearances of spring--the more
deepened sound of the falls, the floating of large cakes of ice from the
great northern depository, Lake Superior, and the return of some early
species of ducks and other birds--presented themselves as harbingers of
spring almost unawares. It is still wintry cold during the nights and
mornings, but there is a degree of solar heat at noon which betokens the
speedy decline of the reign of frosts and snows.

The Indians, to whom the rising of the sap in its capillary vessels in
the rock-maple is the sign of a sort of carnival, are now in the midst
of their season of sugar-making. It is one of their old customs to move,
men, women, children, and dogs, to their accustomed sugar-forests about
the 20th of March. Besides the quantity of maple-sugar that all eat,
which bears no small proportion to all that is made, some of them sell a
quantity to the merchants. Their name for this species of tree is
In-in-au-tig, which means man-tree.

_April 5th_. PEACE POLICY.--The agent from La Pointe, in Lake Superior,
writes: "My expressman from the Fond du Lac arrived on the 31st of last
month, by whom I learned that the Leech Lake Indians were unsuccessful
in their war excursion last fall, not having met with their enemies, the
Sioux, and I trust my communication with Mr. Aitkin will be in time to
check parties that may be forming in the spring.

"The state of the Indians throughout the country is generally in a
critical way of starvation, the wild-rice crops and bear-hunts having
completely failed last fall."

_21st_. REVIVAL OF RELIGION AT MACKINAC.--My brother James, who crossed
the country on snow-shoes, writes: "Mr. Stuart, Satterlee, Mitchell,
Miss N. Dousman, Aitken, and some twenty others, have joined Ferry's
church." This may be considered as the crowning point of the Reverend
Mr. Ferry's labors at that point. This gentleman, if I mistake not, came
up in the same steamer with me seven years ago. It is seed--seed
literally sown in the wilderness, and reaped in the wilderness.

_29th_. MONEY CRISIS.--"The fact is," says a person high in power, "the
fiscal concerns of the department have come to a dead stand, and nothing
remains but to ascertain the arrearages, and pay them up. You well know
how all this has happened (by diversions and misappropriations of the
funds at Washington). Such management you can form no conception of.
There will be, during the year, a thorough change.

"I was glad to see your article. It is an able, and temperate, and
practical view of the subject (_N.A.R._, Ap. 1829), grossly exaggerated,
and grossly misunderstood."

_May 19th_. IDEA OF LAKE TIDES.--Maj. W. writes: "If you see _Silliman's
Journal_, you will observe an article on the subject of the _Lake
Tides_, as Gen. Dearborn calls them, in which he has inserted some hasty
letters I wrote to him on this subject, without, however, ever expecting
to see them in such a respectable guise. The Governor made some more
extended observations at Green Bay. If you can give anything more
definite in relation to the changes of Lake Superior, pray let me have a
letter, and we will try to spread before Mr. Silliman a better view of
the case. I have no idea that anything in the shape, of a tide exists,
The Governor is of the same opinion."

To these opinions I can merely add, Amen. It requires more exactitude of
observation than falls to the lot of casual observers, to upset the
conclusions of known laws and phenomena.

_26th_. NEW INDIAN CODE.--Mr. Wing, the delegate in Congress, forwards
to me a printed copy of the report of laws proposed for the Indian
department. It denotes much labor on the part of the two gentlemen who
have had it in hand, and will be productive of improvement. I should
have liked a bolder course, and not so careful a respect all along, for
what has previously been done. Congress requires, sometimes, to be
instructed, or informed, and not to be copied in its attempts to manage
Indian, affairs.

Every paper brings accounts of removals and appointments under the new
administration; but nothing, so far as I can judge, that promises much,
in this way, of material benefit to Indian affairs. The department at
head-quarters has been, so far as respects fiscal questions, wretchedly
managed, and is over head and ears in debt, and the result of all this
mal-administration is visited on the frontiers, in the bitter want of
means for the agents, sub-agents, and mechanics, and interpreters, who
are obliged to be either suspended, or put on short allowance.
Doubtless, Gen. Jackson, who is a man of high purpose, would remedy this
thing, if the facts were laid before him.

_30th_. MASONRY.--It has recently been discovered, that there is a
hidden danger in this ancient fraternity, and that society has been all
the while sitting, as it were, on the top of a volcano, liable, at any
moment, to burst. Such, at least, appear to be the views of some
politicians, who have seized upon the foolish and apparently _criminal
acts_ of some lack-wits in western New York, to make it a new political
element for demagogues to ride. Already it has reached these hitherto
quiet regions, and zealots are now busy by conventions, and anxious in
hurrying candidates up to the point. "Anti-masonic" is the word, a kind
of "shibboleth" for those who are to cross the political "fords" of the
new Jordan.

_June 1st_. MISSIONARY LABORS AMONG THE INDIANS.--There are evidently
some defects in the system. There is too much expended for costly
buildings, and the formation of a kind of literary institutes of much
too high a grade, where some few of the Indians are withdrawn and very
expensively supported, and undergo a sort of incarceration for a time,
and are then sent back to the bosom of the tribes, with the elements of
the knowledge of letters and history, which their parents and friends
are utterly unable to appreciate, and which they, in fact, ridicule. The
instructed youth is soon discouraged, and they most commonly fall back
into habits worse than before, and end their course by inebriety, while
the body of the tribe is nowise bettered. Whatever the defects are,
there are certainly some things to amend in our measures and
general policy.

Mr. Stevens and Mr. Coe, both missionaries, have recently been appointed
to visit the Indian country, with the object of observing whether some
less expensive and more general effort to instruct and benefit the body
of the tribes, cannot be made. The latter has a commentatory letter to
this end, from Gen. Jackson, dated the 19th of March, which denotes an
interest on this topic that argues favorably of his views of
moral things.

"The true system of converting the Indians was, it is apprehended,
adopted by David Brainerd in 1744. He took the Bible, and declared its
truths with simplicity and earnestness in the Indian villages. There was
no preparation of buildings or outlays. In one year he had gathered a
church of pure believers. Their manners immediately reformed; they
became industrious and cleanly, and built houses, and schools, and
tilled the land. All this was a _consequence_, and not a _cause_ of
Christianity." [58]

[Footnote 58: Works of Jonathan Edwards, vol. 10.]

_2d_. A friend writes: "I believe the literary world is rather lazy just
at this time; at least nothing novel, except words, has reached my eye.
Your _Literary Voyager_ has lately been traveling the rounds amongst
your friends."

_12th_. COPPER MINES.--A private letter, from a high quarter, says:
"Col. Benton's bill, respecting the copper mines, which passed Congress,
only provided for permission being granted to individuals to work them
at their own expense. There is no intention of doing anything on public
account." This, it will be perceived, was the view presented (ante) by
Mr. Dox, in his able letter to me on the subject, several years ago.
Congress will not authorize the working of the mines. It is a matter for
private enterprize.

_July 14th_. WHISKY AMONG THE INDIANS.--Mr. Robert Stuart, Agent to the
American Fur Company, writes from Mackinac, that some of the American
Fur Company's clerks are not inclined to take whisky, under the general
government permit, _provided their opponents take none_. This tampering
with the subject and with me, in the conduct of the agent of that
company, whose duty it is rigidly to exclude the article by every means,
would accord better, it should seem, with the spirit of one who had not
recently taken obligations which are applicable to all times and all
space. Little does the spirit of commerce care how many Indians die
inebriates, if it can be assured of beaver skins. The situation of any
of its agents, who may acknowledge Christian obligations, is doubtless
an embarrassing one; and such persons should seek to get out of such an
employment as soon as possible. The true direction, in all cases of this
kind, is, to take high moral grounds. The department, by granting such
permits, violates a law. The agent of the company who seeks to exclude
"opponents" in the trade, errs by attempting to throw the responsibility
of the minor question upon the local agent, over whose head he already
shakes his permits from a superior power. Now the "opponents," be it
understood, have no such "permits," and the agent can give them none.

This subject of ardent spirits is a constantly recurring one in every
possible form; and no little time of an agent of Indian affairs, and no
small part of his troubles and vexations, are due to it. The traders and
citizens generally, on the frontiers, are leagued in their _supposed_
interests to break down, or evade the laws, Congressional and
territorial, which exclude it, or make it an offence to sell or give it.
If an agent aims honestly to put the law in force, he must expect to
encounter obloquy. If he appeals to the local courts, it is ten to one
that nine-tenths of his jury are offenders in this very thing. So far as
the American Fur Company is concerned, it is seen, I think, by the
course of the managers, that it would conduce to better hunts if the
Indians were kept sober, and liquor were rigidly excluded; but the
argument is, that "_on the lines_"--that the Hudson's Bay Company use
it, and that their trade would suffer if they had not "_some_." And they
thus override the agents, by appealing to higher powers, and so get
permits annually, for a limited quantity, of which _they_ and not the
_agents_ are the judges. In this way the independence of the agents is
constantly kept down, and made to bend to a species of mock
popular will.

In view of the counteracting influence of the American Fur Company on
this frontier, it would be better for the credit of morals, properly so
considered, if the chief agent of that concern at Michilimackinac were
not a professor of religion, or otherwise, if he were in a position to
act out its precepts boldly and frankly on this subject. For, as it now
is, his position is perpetually mistaken. A temperance man, he is yet a
member of a local temperance society, which only operates against the
retailers, but leaves members free to sell by the barrel. Bound, by the
principles of law, not to introduce whisky into the interior, he yet
sells it to others, knowing their intention to be to run it over the
lines, in spite of the agents. This is done by white and red men. And he
obtains "permits" besides, as head of the company, at head-quarters at
Washington, to take in, openly, a certain quantity of high wines every
year. Talk to that gentleman on the subject, and he is eloquent in
defence of temperance. Thus the obligation is kept to the ear, but
broken in the practice. A business that thus compels a man to hamper his
conscience, and cause scandal to the church, should be abandoned
at once.

_Aug. 29th_. FUR TRADE.--Mr. Sparks, Ed. _N.A. Rev_., reminds me of an
intimation mentioned to Mr. Palfrey, to write an article on this
subject, "From observation," he remarks, "and inquiry you have enjoyed
peculiar advantages for gaining a knowledge of the Indians, their
history, character and habits, and the world will be greatly indebted to
you for continuing to diffuse this knowledge, as your opportunities
may allow."

The fur trade has certainly been productive of a market to Indians for
the result of their forest labors, without which they would want many
necessaries. But while it has stimulated hunting, and so far as this
goes, _industry_, in the Indian race, it has tended directly to
diminish the animals upon which they subsist, and thus hastened the
period of the Indian supremacy, while it has introduced the evil of
intoxication by ardent spirits.

LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL.--I left St. Mary's the latter part of August, to
attend the second session of the third legislative council at Detroit.
The same tendency was manifested as in the first session, to lean
favorably to the old pioneers and early settlers of an exposed frontier,
which has suffered severely from Indian wars, and other causes of
depression. With the exception of divorce cases, there were really no
bad laws passed; and no disposition manifested to excessive legislation,
or to encumber the statute book with new schemes. Local and specific
acts absorbed the chief attention during the session.

Deeming it ever better to keep good old laws than to try ill-digested
and doubtful new ones, I used my influence to repress the spirit of
legislating for the sake of legislation, wherever I saw appearances of
it. As Chairman of the Committee on Finances, I managed that branch with
every possible care. I busied myself with the plan of trying to
introduce terse and tasty names for the new townships, taken from the
Indian vocabulary--to suppress the sale of ardent spirits to the Indian
race, and to secure something like protection for that part of the
population which had amalgamated with the European blood.

MACKINAC MISSION.--Towards the close of the session, a movement was made
against the Mackinac Mission by an attempt to repeal the law exempting
the persons engaged in it from militia and jury service. A formal attack
was made by one of the members against that establishment, its mode of
management, and character. This I resisted. Being in my district, and
familiar with the facts and persons implicated, I repelled the charge as
being entirely unjust to the Rev. Mr. Ferry, the gentleman at the head
of that institution. I drew up a report on the subject, vindicating the
institution, which was adopted and printed. This was a triumph achieved
with some exertions.

during this session, a list of the names of the officers who had served
reputably in the Indian campaigns conducted by Gen. Wayne in 1791-2-3. I
proposed to retain them in naming the townships, the possession of the
territorial area of which we owe to their bravery and gallantry.

HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF MICHIGAN.--This institution was incorporated at
the first session of the Third Legislative Council, in 1828. The bill
for this purpose was introduced by me, after consultation with some
literary friends. It contained the plan of constituting the members of
the Legislative Council members ex-officio. This, it was apprehended,
and rightly so, would give it an official countenance, and serve, in
some things, as a convenient basis for meetings during the few years
that precede a State government, while our literary population continues
sparse. My experience in the East had shown me that quorums are not
readily attained in literary societies, which is a sore hindrance to the
half dozen efficient laborers out of a populous city, who generally hold
the laboring oar of such institutions.

The historical incidents of this section of the Union are quite
attractive, and, while general history has cognizance of the leading
events, there is much in the local keeping of old men who are ready to
drop off. There is more in the aboriginal history and languages that
invites attention, while the modern history--the exploration and
settlement of the country, and the leading incidents which are turning a
wilderness into abodes of civilization--is replete with matter that will
be of deep interest to posterity. To glean in this broad field appears
an important literary object.

Gov. Cass gave us this session the first discourse, in a rapid and
general and eloquent review of the French period, including the transfer
of authority to Great Britain, and an account of the bold and original
attempted surprise of the English garrison at Detroit, by Pontiac. This
well-written and eloquently-digested discourse was listened to with
profound interest, and ordered to be printed.[59]

[Footnote 59: Vide _Historical and Scientific Sketches of Michigan_, 1
vol. 12mo; Wells and Whitney, 1834.]

IMPROVED PRESS.--In a state of society which relies so much on popular
information through the diurnal press, its improvement is of the highest
consequence. Mr. William Ward, of Massachusetts, performed this office
for the city of Detroit and Michigan this fall, by the establishment of
a new paper, which at first bore the title of _North-west Journal_, and
afterwards of _Detroit Journal_. This sheet exhibits a marked advance in
editorial ability, maturity of thought, and critical acumen.

I embarked at Detroit, on my return to St. Mary's, late in October,
leaving the council still in session, and reached that place on one of
the last days of the month.

_Dec. 20th_. Mr. Ward writes: "We have published _The Rise of the West,
and the Ages of Michigan_. It is printed well, but bound, sorry I am to
say, carelessly. I suppose the Major will send you a copy."

_Rise of the West, or a Prospect of the Mississippi Valley_, embraces
reminiscences of this noble stream, and of its banks being settled by
the Anglo-Saxons.


The new administration--Intellectual contest in the Senate--Sharp
contest for mayoralty of Detroit--Things shaping at Washington--Perilous
trip on the ice--Medical effects of this exposure--Legislative
Council--Visit to Niagara Falls--A visitor of note--History--Character
of the Chippewas--Ish-ko-da-wau-bo--Rotary sails--Hostilities between
the Chippewas and Sioux--Friendship and badinage--Social
intercourse--Sanillac--Gossip--Expedition to Lake Superior--Winter
Session of the Council--Historical disclosure--Historical Society of
Rhode Island--Domestic--French Revolution.

_1830. Jan. 26th_. THE NEW ADMINISTRATION.--A friend from Washington
writes: "Nothing has yet been touched in the Indian department. It is
doubtful whether our code will be considered. The engrossing topic of
the session will be the removal of the Indians. It occupies the public
mind through the Union, and petitions and remonstrances are pouring in,
without number. The article (_On the Removal of the Indians_) was
luckily hit. It has been well received, and is very acceptable to the

_Feb. 23d_. INTELLECTUAL CONTEST IN THE SENATE.--A correspondent from
Detroit writes: "I refer you to your papers, which will give you the
history of the contest between those intellectual giants, Hayne and
Webster, rather Webster and Hayne, on the land question, which seems to
absorb public interest entirely. My books containing _Extracts of the
Eloquence of the British Parliament_, furnish me no such models as that
second speech. Such clearness, simplicity, and comprehensiveness; such a
grave and impressive tread; such imposing countenance and manner; such
power of thought, and vigor of intellect, and opulence of diction, and
chastened brilliance of imagination, have seldom, I was about to say
never, startled the listeners of that chamber."

correspondent writes: "John R. Williams has been elected mayor, after a
close election, disputed by Chapin. The enemy practised a good thing on
him. During one of the delegate elections, when his ambition seemed to
tower higher than it now does, he published a sort of memorabilia, like
that of Dr. Mitchell, in which was set forth, with much minuteness of
detail, all that he had ever done, and much of all he ever thought, for
the good of this poor territory. Such, for instance, as that in 1802, he
was appointed town-clerk of Hamtramck; that he offered, in 1811, his
services to Congress in a military capacity, which offer was rejected,
and 'was the first who received intelligence of the capture of
Mackinac,' &c. This thing the remorseless enemy republished, after it
had been fervently hoped, no doubt, that the unlucky bantling had
descended to the tomb of the Capulets. It was so unaccountably weak and
stupid, and so unkindly contrasted at bottom with sundry specifications
'of how' he had, with a pertinacious consistency, opposed every
projected public improvement here, that his friends pronounced it a

_April 14th_. THINGS SHAPING AT WASHINGTON.--"I reached home," says a
friend, "last week, after a pleasant journey. The time passed off, at
Washington, pretty comfortably. There was much to see and hear. The
elements of political affairs are combining and recombining, and it is
difficult to predict the future course of things.

"You will see that, in the fiscal way, the department is better off than
last year. Our friend, Col. McKenney, stands his ground well, and I see
no difference in his situation."

PERILOUS TRIP ON THE ICE.--My brother James left the Sault St. Marie on
the ice with a train, about the 1st of April. He writes from Mackinac,
on the 14th of April: "We arrived here on the 12th, after a stay of
seven days at Point St. Ignace. We were seven days from the Sault to the
Point, at which place we arrived in a cold rain storm, half starved,
lame, and tired. I suppose this trip ranks anything of the kind since
the days of Henry. I am sure mortals never suffered more than us. After
leaving the Sault, disappointment, hunger, and fatigue, were our
constant companions. The children of Israel traveled a crooked road,
'tis said, but I think it was not equal to our circuit.

"We found the ice in Muddy Lake very good, in comparison to that of
Huron. After leaving Detour, we were obliged to coast, and that too over
piles of snow, mountains of ice, and innumerable rocks. In one instance,
we were obliged to make a portage across a cedar swamp with our baggage,
and drove Jack about a mile through the water, in order to continue the
'voyage in a train.' We were obliged to round all those long points on
Huron, afraid if we went through the snow of being caught on
some island.

"Jack fell through the ice three times out of soundings, and it was with
great difficulty we succeeded in getting him out. We lost all our
harness in the Lake, and were obliged to 'rig out' with an old bag, a
portage collar, and a small piece of rope-yarn. Jack was three days
without eating, except what he could pick on the shore. Take it all in
all, I think it rather a severe trip."

to this place (Vernon, N.Y.) much fatigued, and not in the best health.
I think my voyage from the Sault to Mackinac has impaired my health. I
was most strangely attacked on board the Aurora. As I was reading in the
cabin, all at once I was struck perfectly blind; then a severe pain in
the head and face and throat, which was remedied by rubbing with
vinegar; on the whole, rather a strange variety of attack."

the Canadian shore, an aged Frenchman, a native of Trois Rivieres, in
Lower Canada, whose reminiscences of life in the wilderness, in the last
century, had the charm of novelty. He was about seventy years of age,
and had raised a family of children by a half-English half-Chippewa
wife, all of whom had grown up and departed. His wife and himself were
left alone, and were very poor. His education had been such as to read
and write French well; he had, in fact, received his education in the
College of Quebec, where he studied six years, and he spoke that
language with considerable purity. As the cold weather drew on in the
fall of 1829, I invited him, with his wife, to live in my basement, and
took lessons of him in French every morning after breakfast. He had all
the polite and respectful manners of a _habitant_, and never came up to
these recitations without the best attention in his power to
his costume.

Such was Jean Baptiste Perrault, who was from one of the best families
in Lower Canada. He had been early enamored with stories of voyageur
adventure and freedom in the Indian country, where he had spent his
life. He was a man of good judgment, quick perceptions, and most
extraordinary memory of things. At my request, he committed to paper, in
French, a narrative of his wild adventures, reaching from St. Louis to
Pembina, between 1783 and 1820. Most of the facts illustrate the
hardships and risks of the Indian trade and Indian manners and customs.
They supply something for the history of the region while the country
was under the English dominion.

Never was a man more grateful for this winter's attention. He moved back
with his wife, who was quite attentive to him, to his little domicil on
the opposite shore in the spring, and lived, I am informed, till Nov.
12, 1844, when he was about 85.

FOURTH LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL.--I was re-elected a member of the
Legislative Council, and as soon as the lakes and river were fairly
open, proceeded to Detroit, where I arrived about the middle of May. In
this trip I was accompanied by Mrs. S. and my infant son and daughter,
with their nurse; and by Miss Charlotte Johnston, a young lady just
coming out into society. The council met and organized without delay,
the committees being cast much in the manner of the preceding council,
as a majority of the members were re-elected. So far as changes of men
had supervened, they were, perhaps, for the better.

VISIT TO NIAGARA FALLS.--Early in June, however, it was determined to
take a recess, and I embraced this opportunity to proceed with my family
to visit Niagara Falls. Miss Elizabeth Cass accepted an invitation to
join us, and we had a most interesting and delightful visit. We were,
perhaps, the first party of pure pleasure, having no objects of business
of any kind, who ever went from the upper lakes to see this grand
feature in American scenery. We were most kindly received by friends and
acquaintances at Buffalo, where many parties were given. We visited both
banks of the falls, and crossed over below the sheet. On passing Black
Rock, we were kindly received by Gen. Porter and his accomplished and
talented lady. We returned to Detroit with the most pleasing
reminiscences of the trip.

A VISITOR OF NOTE.--About the 20th of July, Gen. Erastus Root, long a
veteran in the New York Legislature, visited Detroit, having, if I
mistake not, some public business in the upper country. Persons who have
been long before the public acquire a reputation which appears to make
every one familiar with them, and there was much curiosity to see a
person who had so long opposed Clinton, opposed the canal, and stood
forth in some things as a political reformer. I went with him and his
companion, Judge M'Call, after a very hot day, to take some lemonade in
the evening at Gen. Cass's. Gen. Root was not refined and polished in
his manners and converse. He was purposely rough in many things, and
appeared to say things in strong terms to produce effect. To call the
N.Y. Canal the "big ditch" was one of these inventions which helped him
to keep up his individuality in the legislature. He appeared to me to be
a man something after the type of Ethan Allen.

HISTORY.--During this session of the legislature, I delivered the annual
discourse before the Historical Society. I felt so much misgiving about
reading it before the large assemblage at the State House, that I had
arranged with a literary and legal friend to put it in his hands the
moment I began to falter. For this purpose he occupied the secretary's
desk; but I found myself sufficiently collected to go on and read it
through, not quite loud enough for all, but in a manner, I think, to
give satisfaction.

CHARACTER OF THE CHIPPEWAS.--Wm. S. Mosely, Esq., writes (July 12th)
respecting this influential and wide-spread tribe, proposing a list of
queries transmitted to him by Theodore Dwight, Junr., a philanthropist
of N.Y. One of the questions is as follows: "What have been the chief
impediments between the Indian and civilization? How would it alter
their opinions or influence their conduct if they could associate with
white people without being despised, imposed upon, or rendered
suspicious of their motives? In short, if they came in contact only with
the best white men, and were neither furnished with ardent spirits nor
threatened with extermination by encroachment?"

ISH-KO-DA-WAU-BO.--I had a pleasant passage up the Lakes in the steamer
"Sheldon Thompson." Among the passengers were James B. Gardiner, of
Ohio; charged, with duties from Washington, and John T. Mason,
Commissioner for treating with the Indians at Green Bay. In a letter of
the 13th August, written on his return at Mackinac, Mr. Gardiner, who is
quite a philanthropist and a gentleman of most liberal opinions, says:
"I conceive it my duty to inform you that I have obtained information
from the contractor himself (Mr. Stanard, who is a fourth owner of the
Sheldon Thompson), that under the head of 'provisions,' he has
contracted to deliver, and has actually delivered, two hundred barrels
of whisky, and two hundred barrels of high wines, at the place for the
American Fur Company, which, no doubt, is designed to be sent into the
Indian country the ensuing fall."

ROTARY SAILS.--John B. Perrault, whose name has been before mentioned,
invented a novel boat, to be propelled by the force of rotary sails
acting on machinery, which turns paddle-wheels; a very ingenious thing.
The result of experiments is, however, unfavorable to its
practical adoption.

Book of the day: