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niences of life, with the security of person and property, the two great concerns of mankind. The hides of deer, bears, tigers, and wolves, together with honey, wax, and other productions of the country, purchase their clothing equipage, and domestic utensils from the whites. They seem to be free from want or desires. No cruel enemy to dread ; nothing to give them disquietude, but the gradual encroachments of the white people. Thus contented and undisturbed, they appear as blithe and free as the birds of the air, and like them as volatile and active, tuneful and vociferous. The visage, action, and deportment of the Seminoles form the most striking picture of happiness in this life; joy, contentment, love, and friendship, without guile or affectation, seem inherent in them, or predominant in their vital principle, for it leaves them with but the last breath of life. They are fond of games and gambling, and amuse themselves like children, in relating extravagant stories, to cause surprise and mirth.'
The saine writer gives an engaging picture of his treatment by these savages :
Soon after entering the forests, we were met in the path by a small company of Indians, smiling and beckoning to us long before we joined them. This was a family of Talahasochte, who had been out on a hunt and were returning home loaded with barbacued meat, hides, and honey. Their company consisted of the man, his wife and children, well mounted on fine horses, with a number of packhorses. The man offered us a fawn skin of honey, which I accepted, and at parting presented him with some fish-books, sewing-needles, etc.
‘On our return to camp in the evening, we were saluted by a party of young Indian warriors, who had pitched their tents on a green eminence near the lake, at a small distance from our camp, under a little grove of oaks and palms. This company consisted of seven young Seminoles, under the conduct of a young prince or chief of Talahasochte, a town southward in the isthmus. They were all dressed and painted with singular elegance, and richly ornamented with silver plates, chains, etc., after the Seminole mode, with waving plumes of feathers on their crests. On our coming up to them, they arose and shook hands; we alighted and sat a while with them by their cheerful fire.
• The young prince informed our chief that he was in pursuit of a young fellow who had fled from the town, carrying off with him one of his favorite young wives. He said, merrily, he would have the ears of both of ihem before he returned. He was rather above the middle stature, and the most perfect human figure I ever saw; of an amiable, engaging countenance, air, and deportment; free and familiar in conversation, yet retaining a becoming gracefulness and dignity. We arose, took leave of them, and crossed a little vale, covered with a charming green turf, already illuminated by the soft light of the full moon.
* Soon after joining our companions at camp, our neighbors, the prince and his associates, paid us a visit. We treated them with the best fare we had, having till this time preserved our spirituous liquors.
* BARTRAM's Travels in North America.
They left us with perfect cordiality and cheerfulness, wishing us a good repose, and retired to their own camp. Having a band of music with them, consisting of a drum, flutes, and a rattle-gourd, they entertained us during the night with their music, vocal and instrumental.
There is a languishing softness and melancholy air in the Indian convivial songs, especially of the amorous class, irresistibly moving attention, and exquisitely pleasing, especially in their solitary recesses, when all nature is silent.'
Travellers who have been among them, in more recent times, before they had embarked in their present desperate struggle, represent them in much the same light; as leading a pleasant, indolent life, in a climate that required little shelter or clothing, and where the spontaneous fruits of the earth furnished subsistence without toil. A cleanly race, delighting in bathing, passing much of their time under the shade of their trees, with heaps of oranges and other fine fruits for their refreshment; talking, laughing, dancing and sleeping. Every chief had a fan hanging to his side, made of feathers of the wild turkey, the beautiful pink-colored crane, or the scarlet flamingo. With this he would sit and fan himself with great stateliness, while the young people danced before him. The women joined in the dances with the men, excepting the war-dances. They wore strings of tortoise-shells and pebbles round their legs, which rattled in cadence to the music. They were treated with more attention among the Seminoles than among most Indian tribes.
ORIGIN OF THE WHITE, THE RED, AND THE BLACK MEN.
A SEMINOLE TRADITION.
When the Floridas were erected into a territory of the United States, one of the earliest cares of the Governor, WILLIAM P. Duval, was directed to the instruction and civilization of the natives. For this purpose he called a meeting of the chiefs, in which he informed them of the wish of their Great Father at Washington that they should have schools and teachers among them, and that their children should be instructed like the children of white men. The chiefs listened with their customary silence and decorum to a long speech, setting forth the advantages that would accrue to them from this measure, and when he had concluded, begged the interval of a day to deliberate on it.
On the following day, a solemn convocation was held, at which one of the chiefs addressed the governor in the vame of all the rest.
My brother,' said he, we have been thinking over the proposition of our Great Father at Washington, to send teachers and set up schools among us. We are very thankful for the interest he takes in our welfare ; but after much deliberation, have concluded to decline his offer. What will do very well for white men, will not do for red men. I know you white men say we all come from the same father and mother, but you are mistaken. We have a tradition banded down from our forefathers, and we believe it, that the Great Spirit, when he undertook to make men, made the black man ; it was his first
attempt, and pretty well for a beginning; but he soon saw he had bungled; so he determined to try his hand again. He did so, and made the red man. He liked him much better than the black man, but still he was not exactly what he wanted. So he tried once more, and made the white man; and then he was satisfied. You see, therefore, that you were made last, and that is the reason I call you my youngest brother.
• When the Great Spirit had made the three men, he called them together and showed them three boxes. The first was filled with books, and maps, and papers ; the second with bows and arrows, knives and tomahawks; the third with spades, axes, hoes, and hammers. These, my sons,' said he,'are the means by which you are to live ; choose among them according to your fancy.'
• The white man, being the favorite, had the first choice. He passed by the box of working-tools without notice ; but when he came to the weapons for war and hunting, he stopped and looked hard at them. The red man trembled, for he had set his heart upon that box. The white man, however, after looking upon it for a moment, passed on, and chose the box of books and papers. The red man's turn came next; and you may be sure he seized with joy upon the bows and arrows, and tomahawks. As to the black man, he had no choice left, but to put up with the box of tools.
From this it is clear that the Great Spirit intended the white man should learn to read and write ; to understand all about the moon and stars; and to make every thing, even rum and whiskey. That the red man should be a first-rate hunter, and a mighty warrior, but he was not to learn any thing from books, as the Great Spirit had not given him any: nor was he to make rum and whiskey, lest he should kill himself with drinking. As to the black man, as he had nothing but working tools, it was clear he was to work for the white and red man, which he has continued to do.
• We must go according to the wishes of the Great Spirit, or we shall get into trouble. To know how to read and write, is very good for white men,
bad for red men. It makes white men better, but red men worse. Some of the Creeks and Cherokees learnt 10 read and write, and they are the greatest rascals among all the Indians. They went on to Washington, and said they were going to see their Great Father, to talk about the good of the nation. And when they got there, they all wrote upon a little piece of paper, without the nation at home knowing any thing about it. And the first thing the nation at home knew of the matter, they were called together by the Indian agent, who showed them a little piece of paper, which he told them was a treaty, which their brethren had made in their name, with their Great Father at Washington. And as they knew not what a treaty was, he held up the little piece of paper, and they looked under it, and lo! it covered a great extent of country, and they found that their brethren, by knowing how to read and write, had sold their houses, and their lands, and the graves of their fathers; and that the white man, by knowing how to read and write, had gained them. Tell our Great Father at Washington, therefore, that we are very sorry we cannot receive teachers among us; for reading and writing, though, very good for white men, is very bad for Indians.
THE CONSPIRACY OF NEAMATHLA.
AN AUTHENTIC SKETCA.
In the autumn of 1823, Governor Duval, and other commissioners on the part of the United States, concluded a treaty with the chiefs and warriors of the Florida Indians, by which the latter, for certain considerations, ceded all claims to the whole territory, excepting a district in the eastern part, to which they were to remove, and within which they were to reside for twenty years.
Several of the chiefs signed the treaty with great reluctance; but none opposed it more strongly than NeaMATALA, principal chief of the Mickasookies, a fierce and warlike people, many of them Creeks by origin, who lived about the Mickasookie lake. Neamathla had always been active in those depredations on the frontiers of Georgia which had brought vengeance and ruin on the Seminoles. He was a remarkable man; upward of sixty years of age, about six feet high, with a fine eye, and a stronglymarked countenance, over which he possessed great command. His hatred of the white men appeared to be mixed with contempt : on the common people he looked down with infinite scorn. He seemed unwilling to acknowledge any superiority of rank or dignity in Governor Duval, claiming to associate with him on terms of equality, as two great chieftains. Though he had been prevailed upon to sign the treaty, his heart revolted at it. In one of his frank conversations with Governor Duval, he observed : This country belongs to the red man; and if I had the number of warriors at my command that this nation once had, I would not leave a white man on my lands. I would exterminate the whole. I can say this to you, for you can understand me: you are a man; but I would not say it to your people. They'd cry out I was a savage, and would take my life. They cannot appreciate the feelings of a man that loves his country.'
As Florida had but recently been erected into a territory, every thing as yet was in rude and simple style. The Governor, to make himself acquainted with the Indians, and to be near at hand to keep an eye upon them, fixed bis residence at Tallahassee, near the Fowel towns, inhabited by the Mickasookies. His government palace for a time was a mere log house, and he lived on hunters' fare. The village of Neamathla was but about three miles off
, and thither the governor occasionally rode, to visit the old chieftain. In one of these visits, he found Neaniathla seated in bis wigwam, in the centre of the village, surrounded by his warriors. The governor had brought him some liquor as a present, but it mounted quickly into his brain, and rendered him quite boastful and belligerent. The theme ever uppermost in his mind, was the treaty with the whites. It was true,' he said, 'the red men had made such a treaty, but the white men had not acted up to it. The red men had received none of the money and the catile that had been promised them: the treaty, therefore, was at an end, and they did not mean to be bound by it.'
Governor Duval calmly represented to him that the time appointed in the treaty for the payment and delivery of the money and the cattle had not yet arrived. This the old chieftain knew full well, but be chose, for the moment, to pretend ignorance. He kept on drinking and talking, his voice growing louder and louder, until it resounded all over the village. He held in his hand a long knife, with which he had been rasping tobacco; this he kept flourishing backward and forward, as he talked, by way of giving effect to his words, brandishing it at times within an inch of the governor's throat. He concluded his tirade by repeating, that the country belonged to the red men, and that sooner than give it up, his bones and the bones of his people should bleach upon its soil.'
Duval saw that the object of all this bluster was to see whether he could be intimidated. He kept his eye, therefore, fixed steadily on the chief, and the moment he concluded with his menace, seized him by the bosom of his hunting-shirt, and clinching his other fist :
• I've heard what you have said,' replied he. You have made a treaty, yet you say your bones shall bleach before you comply with ít. As sure as there is a sun in heaven, your bones shall bleach, if you do not fulfil every article of that treaty! I'll let you know that I am first here, and will see that you do your duty!'
Upon this, the old chieftain threw himself back, burst into a fit of laughing, and declared that all he had said was in joke. ernor suspected, however, that there was a grave meaning at the bottom of this jocularity.
For two months, every thing went on smoothly: the Indians repaired daily to the log-cabin palace of the governor, at Tallahassee, and appeared perfectly contented. All at once they ceased their visits, and for three or four days not one was to be seen.
Governor Duval began to apprehend that some mischief was brewing. On the evening of the fourth day, a chief named Yellow-Hair, a resolute, intelligent fellow, who had always evinced an attachment for the governor, entered his cabin about twelve o'clock at night, and informed him, that between four and five hundred warriors, painted and decorated, were assembled to hold a secret war-talk at Neamathla's town. He had slipped off to give intelligence, at the risk of his life, and hastened back lest his absence should be discovered.
Governor Duval passed an anxious night after this intelligence. He knew the talent and the daring character of Neamathla; he recollected the threats he had thrown out; he reflected that about eighty white families were scattered widely apart, over a great extent of country, and might be swept away at once, should the Indians, as he feared, determine to clear the country. That he did not exaggerate the dangers of the case, has been proved by the horrid scenes of Indian warfare that have since desolated that devoted region. After a night of sleepless cogitation, Duval determined on a measure suited to his prompt and resolute character. Knowing the admiration of the savages for personal courage, he determined, by a sudden surprise, to endeavor to overawe and check them. It was hazarding much; but where so many lives were in jeopardy, he felt bound to incur the hazard.