« PreviousContinue »
under his care beyond the Alleghanies. He will advise you in all difficulties, and redress your wrongs. Do what he tells you, and you will be sure to do right. You ask us to send schoolmasters to educate your son and the sons of your people. We desire above all things, brother, to instruct you in whatever we know ourselves. We wish to learn you all our arts and to make you wise and wealthy. As soon as.there is peace we shall be able to send you the best of schoolmasters; but while the war is raging, I am afraid it will not be practicable. It shall be done, however, before your son is of an age to receive instruction.
This, brother, is what I had to say to you. Repeat it from me to all your people, and to our friends, the Kickapous, Piorias, Piankeshaws and Wyattanons. I will give you a commission to show them how much we esteem you. Hold fast the chain of friendship which binds us together, keep it bright as the sun, and let them, you and us, live together in perpetual love.
Speeches of John Baptist de Coigne, Chief of the Wabash and Illinois Indians, and other Indian Chiefs.
Thomas Jefferson has the honor to send to the President the speech of De Coigne, written at length from his notes very exactly. He thinks he can assure the President that not a sentiment delivered by the French interpreter is omitted, nor a single one inserted which was not expressed. It differs often from what the English interpreter delivered, because he varied much from the other, who alone was regarded by Thomas Jefferson.
February 1, 1793. The President having addressed the ehiefe of the Wabash and Illinois Indians, John Baptist De Coigne, chief of Kaskaskia, spoke as follows:—
Father,—I am about to open to you my heart. I salute first the Great Spirit, the Master of life, and then you.
I present you a black pipe on the death of chiefs who have come here and died in your bed. It is the calumet of the dead— take it and smoke it in remembrance of them. The dead pray you to listen to the living, and to be their friends. They are gone, we cannot recall them. Let us then be contented ; for, as you have said, to-morrow, perhaps, it may be our turn. Take then their pipe, and as I have spoken for the dead, let me now address you for the living. [He delivered the black pipe.]
[Here Three-Legs, a Piankeshaw chief, came forward and carried round a white pipe, from which every one smoked ]
John Baptist De Coigne spoke again:
Father,—The sky is now cleared. I am about to open my heart to you again. I do it in the presence of the Great Spirit, and I pray you to attend.
You have heard the words of our father, General Putnam. We opened our hearts to him, we made peace with him, and he has told you what we said.
This pipe is white, I pray you to consider it as of the Wyattanons, Piankeshaws, and the people of Eel river. The English at Detroit are very jealous of our father. I have used my best endeavors to keep all the red men in friendship with you, but they have drawn over the one-half, while I have kept the other. Be friendly then to those I have kept.
I have long known you, General Washington, the Congress^ Jefferson, Sinclair. I have labored constantly for you to preserve peace.
You see your children on this side, [pointing to the friends of the dead chief,] they are now orphans. Take care, then, of the orphans of our dead friends.
Father,—Your people of Kentucky are like mosquitos, and try to destroy the red men. The red men are like mosquitos also, and try to injure the people of Kentucky. But I look to you as to a good being. Order your people to be just. They are always trying to get our lands. They come on our lands, they hunt on them; kill our game, and kill us. Keep them then on one side of the line, and us on the other. Listen, father, to what we say, and protect the nations of the Wabash and Mississippi in their lands.
The English have often spoken to me, but I shut my ears to them. I despise their money, it is nothing to me. I am attached to my lands. I love to eat in tranquillity, and not like a bird on a bough.
Vol. vm. 12
The Piankeshaws, Wyattanons, Wiaws, and all the Indians of the Mississippi and Wabash, pray you to open your heart and ears to them, and as you befriend them, to give them Captain Prior for their father. We love him, men, women, and children of us. He has always been friendly to us, always taken care of us, and you cannot give us a better proof of your friendship than in leaving him with us.
[Here Three-Legs handed round the white pipe to be smoked.] *De Coigne, then,taking a third pipe, proceeded:
This pipe, my father, is sent you by the great chief of all the Wiaws, called Crooked-Legs. He is old, infirm, and cannot walk, therefore is not come. But he prays you to be his friend, and to take care of his people. He tells you there are many red people jealous of you, but you need not fear them. If he could Jiave walked he would have come; but he is old and sick, and .cannot walk. The English have a sugar mouth, but CrookedLegs would never listen to them. They threatened us to send the red men to cut off him and his people, and they sent the red men who threatened to do it, unless he would join the English. But he would not join them.
The chiefs of the Wabash, father, pray you to listen. They send you this pipe from afar. Keep your children quiet at the Falls of Ohio. We know you are the head of all. We appeal to you. Keep the Americans on one side of the Ohio, from the falls downwards, and us on the other; that we may have something to live on according to your agreement in the treaty which you have. And do not take from the French the lands we have given them.
Old Crooked-Legs sends you this pipe, [here he presented it,] and he prays you to send him Captain Prior for his father, for he is old, and you ought to do this for him.
Father,—I pray you to listen. So far I have spoken for others, and now will speak for myself. I am of Kaskaskia, and have always been a good American from my youth upwards. Yet the Kentuckians take my lands, eat my stock, steal my horses, kill my game, and abuse our persons. I come far with all these people. My nation is not numerous. No people can fight against you father, but the Great God himself. All the red men together cannot do it; but have pity on us. I am now old. Do not let the Kentuckians take my lands nor injure me, but give me a line to them to let me alone.
Father,—The Wyattanons, Piankeshaws, Piorias, Powtewatamies, Mosquitoes, Kaskaskias, have now made a road to you. It is broad and white. Take care of it then, and keep it open.
Father,—You are powerful. You said you would wipe away our tears. We thank you for this. Be firm, and take care of your children.
The hatchet has been long buried. I have been always for peace. I have done what I could, given all the money I had to procure it.
The half of my heart, father, is black. I brought the Piorias to you. Half of them are dead. I fear they will say it was my fault; but, father, I look upon you, my heart is white again, and I smile.
The Shawanese, the Delawares, and the English, are always persuading us to take up the hatchet against you, but I have been always deaf to their words. [Here he gave a belt.]
Great Joseph who came with us is dead. Have compassion on his niece, his son-in-law, and his chiefs, [pointing to them.] It is a dead man who speaks to you, father; accept, therefore, these black beads. [Here he presented several strands of dark colored beads.] I have now seen General Washington, I salute and regard him next after the Great Spirit.
Como, a Powtewatamy chief, then said, that as the President had already been long detained, and the hour was advanced, he would resume what he had to say at another day.
Shawas, the Little Doe, a Kickapou chief, though very sick, had attended the conference, and now carried the pipe round to be smoked. He then addressed the President.
Father,—I am stjll very ill, and unable to speak. I am a Kickapou, and drink of the waters of the Wabash and Mississippi. I have been to the Wabash and treatied with General Putnam, and I came not to do ill, but to make peace. Send to us Captain Prior to be our father, and no other. He possesses all our love.
Father,—I am too ill to speak. You will not forget what the others have said.
February 2.—The day being cloudy, the Indians did not choose to meet.
February 4.—The morning was cloudy, they gave notice that if it should clear up they would attend at the President's at 2 o'clock. Accordingly, the clouds having broke away about noon, they attended a little after 2, except Shawas and another, who were sick, and one woman.
Como, a Powtewatamy chief, spoke.
Father,—I am opening my heart to speak to you, open yours to receive my words. I first address you from a dead chief, who when he was about to die, called us up to him and charged us never to part with our lands. So I have done for you, my children, and so do you for yours. For what have we come so far? Not to ruin our nation, nor yet that we might carry goods home to our women and children ; but to procure them lasting good, to open a road between them and the whites, solicit our father to send Captain Prior to us. He has taken good care of us, and we all love him.
Now, Father, I address you for our young people, but there remains not much to say, for I spoke to you through General Putnam, and you have what I said on paper. I have buried the hatchet forever, so must your children. I speak the truth, and you must believe me. We all pray you to send Captain Prior to us, because he has been so very kind to us all. [Here he delivered strands of dark colored beads.]
Father,—Hear me and believe me. I speak the truth, and from my heart; receive my words then into yours. I am come from afar for the good of my women and children, for thenpresent and future good. When I was at home in the midst of them, my heart sunk within me, I saw no hope for them. The heavens were gloomy and lowering, and I could not tell why. But General Putnam spoke to us, and called us together. I rejoiced to hear him, and determined immediately to come and see my father. Father, I am happy to see you. The heavens have cleared away, the day is bright, and I rejoice to hear youi