Page images

which all their prosperity lies. In this way every attempt upon the poor laws, and every suggestion to repress the evils of a legal and compulsory aliment, have been regarded as preguant with disaffection among the lower orders, and even as the forerunners of a complete revolution of the state and government.

We do not indeed think that every part of Dr. Chalmers's projected system would be either perfectly practicable in England, or of unmixed advantage any where : but it cannot be denied that there is a plausible and promising character belonging to it considered as a whole, and that it would be productive of much good in our large manufacturing towns especially, even though the more Utopian views connected with it, were never either acted upon, or fully realized. His pamphlets, at all events, contain many valuable bints, which may be improved by less ingenious men than the author; and a statement of principles which may be developed and applied hereafter, in more auspicious times; when the poor

shall have been convinced that their best interests are most closely connected with their own character and doings, and that virtue, happiness, and independence, can only be secured by industry, self-denial, and self-command.

Art. X. Memoirs of a Captivity among the Indians of

North America, from Childhood to the Age of Nineteen ; with Anecdotes descriptive of their Manners and Customs. To which is added, some Account of the Soil, Climate, and vegetable Productions of the Territory Westward of the Mississippi. By John D. Hunter. pp. 458. 12s. Long

man & Co 1823. We could wish for a few more details respecting the present situation and abode of the author of these Memoirs, who, if he had been more communicative on these points, would certainly have had more right than he now possesses to challenge implicit confidence. That he should publish in London rather than in New York is scarcely a matter of surprize : all then we require is to be more minutely informed of the method and progress of his education in civilized habits, the length of time since his first reclamation from barbarism, and the post to which he has since elevated himself in American society. Since we are left in comparative ignorance on these heads; we must be content to give bis narrative as we find it. Our reader will be just as well able as ourselves to determine on its authenticity, of which, however, we by no means intend to express any disbelief.

With the place of bis nativity, and the circumstances of his parentage, John Hunter professes total upacquaintance. He, with two other white children,a boy and girl, was taken prisoner at a very early age by a party of the Kickapoo Indians, and he has only occasional and very indistinct recollections of the terrific circumstances which preceded his capture.

• There are moments when I see the rush of the Indians, hear their war-whoops and terrific yells, and witness the massacre of my parents and connections, the pillage of their property, and the incendious destruction of their dwellings. But the first incident that made an actual and prominent impression on me happened while the party were somewhere encamped, no doubt shortly after my capture; it was as follows: The little girl whom I before mentioned, beginning to cry, was immediately dispatched with the blow of a tomahawk from one of the warriors: the circumstance terrified me very much, more particularly as it was followed with

very menacing motions of the sanie instrument, directed to me, and then pointed to the slaughtered infant, by the same warrior, which I then interpreted to signify, that if I cried, he would serve me in the same manner." . P. 5.

The boy, after this tragedy, was carried off in another direction, and Hunter was left alone among the Indians. His march continued for several days, till he reached a camp, situated on a considerable river, but in what particular district he was unable to determine. Here he was adopted into the family of one of the principal warriors, and experienced much kindness from the Squaw his wife.

The first years of his captivity were distinguished only by occasional changes of encampment. Hunter became easily reconciled to his new habits, and appears to have grown up in favour with his captors. During one of their migrations, the Kickapoos, to whom he belonged, were attacked and taken prisoners by a party of wandering Pawnees. The warriors were killed and scalped, the women and children annexed to the suite of the conquerors. From them, by a similar fortune, he was soon transferred to the Kansas, who marched him to their town, situated on a river of the same nanie, several hundred miles above its confluence with the Missouri, which is three hundred and fifty miles above the entrance of the latter river into the Mississippi.

A Squaw, who had lost her son in a recent engage


ment, immediately adopted Hunter in bis stead, and he was in consequence treated with great regard and tenderness. He very much preferred his new to his original masters, with whom he represents them to be strongly contrasted ; and it is well that they are so, for the Kickapoos are“ treacherous, deceitful, cunning, not tenacious of a good character, exceedingly remiss in their social habits and intercourse, and are held in humble estimation by the neighbouring tribes. The first white trader who Hunter ever saw came to the Kansas towns in the fall ensuing after his capture. He had been strongly prejudiced against them by his Indian education, and the impression which they left behind them was in the highest degree unfavourable. Meantime he learned to ride, and acquired the language of his protectors. His only lessons of morality were drawn from a venerable warrior, Tshut-che-nau, (the defender of the people,) and in truth the veteran was no bad preacher.

« He would often admonish us for our faults, and exhort us never to tell a lie. • Never steal, except it be from an enemy, whom it is just that we should injure in every possible way. When you become men, be brave and cunning in war, and defend your

hunt. ing grounds against all encroachments. Never suffer your squaws or little ones to want. Protect the squaws and strangers from insult. On no account betray your friend. Resent insults-revenge yourselves on your enemies. Drink not the poisonous strongwater of the white people; it is sent by the Bad Spirit to destroy the Indians. Fear not death; none but cowards fear to die. Obey and venerate the old people, particularly your parents. Fear and propitiate the Bad Spirit, that he may do you no harm; - love and adore the Good Spirit, who made us all, wlio supplies our hunting grounds, and keeps us alive.""

P. 21. The Kansas were at war with a neighbouring tribe, the Mahas, whom they defeated in a decisive and bloody battle. Twenty-five of their enemies were brought in prisoners. In every Indian town is a painted post, which is considered when once reached as an asylum, until the fate of the captive is determined in a council of war; but in reaching it is much danger and difficulty. The Squaws, particularly those who have lost connections in the war, assemble with the children, and attack with briars, stones, clubs, and fire-brands, the unbappy victims who pass between their ranks. On the present occasion some were horribly mangled in gaining the place of refuge. Two only who had instigated the war were selected for capital punishment, and they expired amid protracted and remorseless tortures with every mark of constancy and fortitude.

Soon after this battle Hunter's adopted mother was accidently drowned, and the loss appears to bave affected him deeply. He was now sufficiently old to accompany a hunt. ing party, and with about thirty hunters and eleven boys be ascended the Kansas river, and bending to the right, arrived in a district abounding in buffaloes, elks, deer and bears, and watered by a river known to the traders by the name of La Platte. Here his summer was passed. From one of his encampments on the Dripping Fork river, he visited a beautiful stalactitic cave, which tradition represents as the aperture through wbicb the first Indian ascended from the bowels of the earth and settled on its surface. At a remote period of time this cave was used as cemetery; and it is still regarded with great veneration and dread. In consequence of reports of hostile parties in the neighbourhood, a return to the Kansas towns was determined upon. In effecting this, great difficulties were to be encountered. They learned that their own tribe was at war, and in order to secure themselves from the numerous enemies who intercepted their route, they were compelled to stop at the settlements, and solicit the protection of the Osages.

Here again Hanter was adopted into a distinguished fa. mily. A considerable time was passed among this tribe, and from the skill with which he learved the use of the rifle, he received the appellation which he has retained during his subsequent life. His first sight of a missionary was during this residence: and his account of him is well worth attention.

“During our stay, I saw a number of white people, who, from different motives, resorted to this nation : among them was a clergyman, who preached several times to the Indians through an interpreter. He was the first Christian preacher that I had ever heard or seen, The Indians treated him with great respect, and listened to his discourses with profound attention ; but could not, as I heard them observe, comprehend the doctrines he wished to inculcate. It may be appropriately mentioned here, that the Indians are accustomed, in their own debates, never to speak but one at a time; while all others, constituting the audience, invariably listen with patience and attention till their turn to speak arrives. This respect is still more particularly observed towards strangers ; and the slightest deviation from it would be regarded by them as rude, indecorous, and highly offensive. It is this trait in the Indian character which many of the missionaries mistake for a serious impression made on their minds; and which has led to many exaggerated accounts of their conversion to Christianity.”P. 42.

In a fight with the Pawnees, Hunter's party took eighteen scalps; one was gained by his own hand : the first and last essay, as he states, of the

kind. It greatly raised his reputation on his return. The young Squaws danced round him with the most extravagant demonstrations of joy. They ornamented his head, arms, and legs, with feathers, stained porcupine-quills, and deer-sinews, and chaunted the song of victory, to the accompaniment of their rode instruments. In the next fight, though equally victorious, he was less fortunate, and received a musket ball in the knoe, which confined him for several weeks.

One of his excursions during his abode with the Osages lasted nearly sixteen moons. It led him to the borders of the Pacific. On his return he joined a trading expedition up

the Missouri, and from dissatisfaction with the conduct of a Spaniard who conducted it, Hunter, in company with ten others, abandoned the party at the Great Falls. On their return they mistook the route; and their sufferings in the depth of winter were excessive. They remind us, thoughr in minor degree, of Captain Franklin's narrative.

It was soon after bis return from this excursion that the circumstances occurred which oceasioned his renunciation of savage life. A party of hunters, to which he was attached, visited the main encampment of Colonel Watkins, a trader on the Arkansas. Here they were most hospitably treated, and in return, having partaken too copiously of whiskey, they stole six of his horses, and killed and scalped. a neighbouring French trader. On revisiting their camps they continued drinking and distributing spirits to their comrades till, infuriate with liquor, they resolved to massacre the whole of Watkins's party. Hunter dissembled bis repugnance to the bloody scheme, for the slightest suspicion would have been the signal for bis instant death. His resolution however was fixed as soon as the attack was proposed, and be concealed his determination so well, that he was intrusted with the post of night guard.

“ The whiskey being exhausted, and the Indians retired to rest, under its stupefactive influence, I silently and cautiously removed all the flints from the guns, emptied the primings from the pans, took my own rifle, and other equipments, and mounting the best horse that had been stolen on the preceding day, made my escape, and gave the alarm to Watkins and his party.

« I made considerable noise in taking my horse, and disengaging the others from their fastenings, so as to prevent their use, in case the Indians should discover my absence, and determine on pursu



« PreviousContinue »